At the Republican debate in Concord this morning, Mitt Romney stood by his previous support for gay rights, which may or may not be an endpoint in a long evolution. He was seen before he ran for any office as in line with the Mormon Church's conservative views on gay rights. But in 1994 Romney ran to the left on gay rights, boasting he would do for gay rights than his opponent Senator Ted Kennedy.
Romney previously favored a national law against discrimination against gays and
In 1994 Romney said "I am not fully aware of that bill, so I would need to study that more fully. I am aware of the legislation that Barney Frank proposed [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act] and do support that and would vote in favor of that.I also philosophically support efforts to ban discrimination in housing. The particulars of the bill you’re speaking about I have not studied, so I shouldn’t state a position. Philosophically, I support efforts to remove discrimination from the workplace, from housing, from education and so forth."
As Governor of Massachusetts Romney promised to defend civil rights irrespective of sexual orientation. In his 2003 inaugural address, Romney said, “We invest in people and their freedoms when we defend civil rights, regardless of gender,
sexual orientation, or race and when we protect their rights to make their own choices.”
In 2003, a day following the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling same-sex couples could no longer be denied the right to marry, Mitt Romney told reporters that he believed a civil unions statute would "be sufficient" to satisfy the justices' concerns. Indicating support for civil unions in response to gay marriage.
But in 2006, Romney seemed to have back tracked on his previous support for gay rights. Romney, when asked if he stood by a letter he wrote to the Log Cabin Republicans in 1994 in which he said that he would support the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), said, “No. I don’t see the need for new or special legislation. My experience over the past several years as governor has convinced me that ENDA would be an overly broad law that would open a litigation floodgate and unfairly penalize employers at the hands of activist judges."