Romney: Same-Sex Couples ‘Have the Right’ to Adopt Children--But Not Marry

May 15, 2012 - 3:27 PM

romney, ann

Republican Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann Romney. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he is opposed to same-sex marriage, but also that same-sex couples “have the right” to adopt and rear children.

“I also know many gay couples are able to adopt children. That’s fine," Romney said during a recent interview with Fox News's Neil Cavuto. "But my preference is that we encourage the marriage of a man and a woman."

"I believe that marriage has been defined in the same way for literally thousands of years by virtually every civilization in history, and that marriage is literally by its definition a relationship between a man and a woman," said Romney. "And that if two people of the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship and even want to adopt a child, in my state, individuals of the same sex were able to adopt children. In my view, that’s something which people have the right to do. But to call that marriage is, in my view, is a departure from the real meaning of that word.”

Romney was a guest on Your World with Neil Cavuto on May 10 to talk about same-sex “marriage” and gay rights, in response to President Barack Obama’s announcement on May 9 that his position had evolved and he now supports so-called marriage between people of the same sex.

During a July 16, 2008 interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Romney expressed a similar view on adoption by same sex couples, and deferred to the judgment of the courts.

“We recognize that the ideal setting for raising a child is where there’s a mom and a dad, and the great majority of states recognize that as well,” Romney told Blitzer. “But typically states have said, we’re going to encourage adoptions where there’s a mom and a dad but we’re not going to make it illegal for other circumstances for adoption to occur as well, and we’re going to let the courts decide what’s in the best interest of the child.”

“And so you don’t make illegal necessarily a national policy that says you can’t have gay adoption,” said Romney. “You let the states decide what’s in the best interest of the child ….”

When asked by Blitzer whether that was okay with him, Romney said, “I didn’t oppose that here in Massachusetts. My view was that the best setting for a child to be raised is where there’s a mom and a dad. But I did not say let’s put in place a law that would prevent a court from deciding that a child, instead of being in an orphanage, should be with a same-sex couple or with a single mom or a single dad. You leave that up to the court and let them make the decision.”

Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, said it is inconsistent for Romney to be “fine” with same sex adoption but opposed to same sex marriage.

“A key reason why people oppose same-sex marriage is because they believe children do need a mother and father,” Sprigg told CNSNews.com “And if you truly believe that children do best when raised by a mother and father, then you oppose not only same-sex marriage, but you would oppose homosexual adoption as well.”

Here is partial transcript of Neil Cavuto’s interview with Romney is posted below:

Cavuto: “The president in an attack ad that’s already out now governor, maybe in response to and a quick follow up from this decision yesterday that you’ve been all over the map on this issue – that you are against civil unions, you have said that this is a state issue, then you said that maybe it’s the federal government that should handle it through a constitutional amendment protecting marriage between a man and a woman. What is your firm position?”

Romney: “Well, thank you for any confusion that’s there. Let me make it very clear, which is that my preference would be to have a national standard that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. That would then allow states to determine what rights would be provided for people of the same gender that wanted to have a relationship. There could be domestic partnership benefits, for instance, where one state might decide to provide hospital visitation rights. Another state might decide to provide that as well as benefits of other kinds. States could have their own decisions with regards to the domestic partnership rights. But my preference would be to have a national standard for marriage and that marriage be defined as being between a man and a woman.”

Cavuto: “Gays quickly interpret that governor as being discriminatory to them and that a President Romney would etch in the Constitution something that discriminates against a large swath of people in this country, gays. What do you say?”

Romney: “You know, we as a society take action which we believe strengthens the nation. I happen to believe that the best setting for raising a child is where there’s the opportunity for a mom and a dad to be in the home. I know there are many circumstances where that’s not possible, through death or divorce. I also know many gay couples are able to adopt children -- that’s fine. But my preference is that we encourage the marriage of a man and a woman. And that we continue to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.”

Cavuto: “Some have likened this too, sort of like the civil rights movement all over again and that gays push for rights, is very analogous. What do you say?”

Romney: “You know, I don’t see it in that light. I believe that my record as a person who has supported civil rights is strong and powerful. At the same time, I believe that marriage has been defined in the same way for literally thousands of years by virtually every civilization in history, and that marriage is literally by its definition a relationship between a man and a woman. And that if two people of the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship and even want to adopt a child, in my state, individuals of the same sex were able to adopt children. In my view, that’s something which people have the right to do. But to call that marriage is, in my view, is a departure from the real meaning of that word.”

In a statement sent to CNSNews.com in October, Romney’s spokesman said: “Gov. Romney has consistently said that gay adoption should be assessed on a state-by-state basis--not at the federal level.”