Though Mitt Romney did not join his running mate Paul Ryan and other Congressional Republicans at this weekend’s Values Voters Summit, he did address the conference through a prerecorded video. In it, he personally thanked Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council for their “leadership” and for bringing people together to discuss “vital issues.” He went on to reiterate his anti-choice and anti-gay positions, borrowing a Rick Santorum talking point suggesting that liberal social policies contribute to poverty:
ROMNEY: We will uphold the sanctity of life, not abandon or ignore it. And we will defend marriage, not try to redefine it. We need a President who understands that we will not have a strong economy unless we have strong communities and strong families. This isn’t conjecture or some quaint belief, it’s evidenced by a Brookings Institution study that Rick Santorum brought to my attention some time ago. For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and wait until they’re 21 until they marry and then have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2 percent, but if those things are absent, the probability of becoming poor is 76 percent. In short, culture matters, and as President, I’ll protect our culture and preserve the values of hard work, personal responsibility, family, and faith.
Watch his full address:
Unlike the America Romney imagines, same-sex families are a part of communities all across this country, and they would benefit from marriage just like other families.
During his presidential campaign during the Republican primaries, Santorum regularly made claims about poverty to defend his socially conservative positions. In January, he claimed that President Obama was de-emphasizing abstinence-only sex education because he “wants people to be in poverty,” despite the fact that such programs are ineffective at preventing teen pregnancy. Santorum also told audiences that kids are better off with a parent in jail than with same-sex parents, conflating the experience of abandoned mothers to the “fatherless” families of lesbian couples.
If Romney wants to cite data when he speaks on social issues — particularly as his campaign prepares to emphasize them more — he should probably consider using information that actually informs his positions, rather than relying on the conjecture of his party’s extremists like Santorum.