Romney: 'I Hope to Represent ... Every Race, Creed and Sexual Orientation'

Pete Winn | July 13, 2012 | 11:08am EDT
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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressing the NAACP on July 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Paulsen)

( - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told the NAACP in Houston this week, "I hope to represent all Americans, of every race, creed and sexual orientation."

Later in the same speech, Romney said he would “promote strong families” and “defend traditional marriage.”

“Now with 90 percent of African-Americans voting for Democrats, some of you may wonder why a Republican would bother to campaign in the African American community, and to address the NAACP,” he told attendees at the 103rd Annual NAACP Convention in Houston, Texas on Wednesday.

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“One reason, of course, is that I hope to represent all Americans, of every race, creed and sexual orientation, from the poorest to the richest and everyone in between,” Romney said.

In May, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the oldest African American civil-rights group, adopted a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage at its board meeting in Miami.

But Romney on Wednesday pledged to defend traditional marriage and promote the family as an institution.

“Here at the NAACP, you understand the deep and lasting difference that family makes,” he said, telling the audience that he intends to set a new direction in federal policy by focusing on the family.

“Any policy that lifts up and honors the family is going to be good for the country, and that must be our goal,” he said. “As president, I will promote strong families and I will defend traditional marriage.”

As has reported, Romney declared in May that he was opposed to same-sex marriage, but also said 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 told Fox News host Neil Cavuto. “But my preference is that we encourage the marriage of a man and a woman.”

Romney's comments to Fox News came on May 10 in response to President Barack Obama’s May 9 announcement that his position on same-sex marriage had “evolved,” and that Obama now supports “marriage” between persons of the same sex.

“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,” Romney said.

"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.”

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