GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s chief struggle in political life is deciding exactly where he stands on an issue. When it comes to gay families, Romney shifty nature launches into overdrive. Years ago, Romney seemed to accept the idea that same-sex couples can adopt a child. “They are able to adopt children…And I’m not going to change that,” he said in 2006, noting that same-sex couples have “a legitimate interest” in adoption. “Obviously, that’s their right,” he said in 2007.
But in aiming to secure the GOP presidential nomination for 2012, Romney has walked back his support for gay and lesbian families. During an August GOP debate, the former Massachusetts governor said he would work to institute a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as a between a man and a woman “because I believe the ideal place to raise a child is in a home with a mom and dad.” He doubled down on that position during a town hall in New Hampshire earlier this week, arguing that while he would support “partnership agreements” for same-sex couples, “the ideal setting to raise a child for a society like ours is where there is a man and a woman.”
Thus, it’s somewhat surprising that Romney’s most recent comment on the matter would allow states to place children in same-sex households. When CNS News asked Romney whether the benefits from his so-called “partnership agreements” would allow adoption, Romney’s team traded the “ideal” family talking point for the idea that same-sex adoption rights are a state issue:
Romney said he favors traditional marriage and believes children are better served by a mother and father. But he also said he would favor “partnership agreements” between same-sex couples that would allow certain benefits afforded to married couples. Aside from hospital visitation rights, Romney did not elaborate on what these benefits would be.
CNSNews.com asked if they would include allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.
In response, Romney spokesman [Ryan] Williams said it was an issue Romney believed “should be assessed on a state-by-state basis” and referenced several statements the candidate has made on the matter.
It seems Romney is heralding back to his earlier years, restating a similar view from 2007, where he said adoption by same-sex couples is “something that is assessed on a state-by-state basis.” Indeed, when ABC’s George Stephanopoulous asked him that year whether he had mocked such adoptions at one point, Romney rejected the notion: “I don’t mean to mock them in any way and I know we have gay adoption in Massachusetts, other states do. It’s a decision made state by state.”