|Pro-family activism that makes a difference!|
MassResistance rebuts pro-Romney "Open Letter" posted on National Review Online by moderate pro-family Mass. groups
Attempts to defend ex-Governor's actions during same-sex "marriage" fiasco yield mostly distortions and half-truths.
POSTED: Jan. 6, 2012
In recent televised debates, Gov. Mitt Romney has been quite vocal about his support for "gay rights" in America. This makes him hardly a social conservative.
Nevertheless, the following "Open Letter" was posted on the National Review Online website and is signed by several well-known figures (listed below) from the "moderate" pro-family community in Massachusetts. The letter purports to be "an account of the facts to set the record straight" on several issues on which Romney has been criticized, and brings up others from his time in office to attempt to defend his "solid social conservative credentials."
But a closer look shows it is full of distortions and half-truths. (And some of the groups have accepted large donations from Romney). Read it for yourself; our rebuttals are in maroon:
An Open Letter Regarding Governor Mitt Romney
December 30, 2011
Dear conservative friends:
We hail from a broad spectrum of organizations dedicated to fighting for the pro-family agenda in Massachusetts. As you know, Mitt Romney served as the governor of our state from January 2, 2003 to January 3, 2007. During that time, we worked closely with him and his excellent staff on that agenda.
Some press accounts and bloggers have described Governor Romney in terms we neither have observed nor can we accept. To the contrary, we, who have been fighting here for the values you also hold, are indebted to him and his responsive staff in demonstrating solid social conservative credentials by undertaking the following actions here in Massachusetts. The following is not an endorsement of Governor Romney but our account of the facts to set the record straight.
o Staunchly defended traditional marriage. Governor Romney immediately and strongly condemned the November 18, 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) decision that legalized "same-sex marriage" in our state. More importantly, he followed up on that denunciation with action — action that saved our nation from a constitutional crisis over the definition of marriage.
Romney's "denunciation" of the same-sex marriage ruling was weak and perfunctory. In his four-sentence statement on the day of the SJC ruling, he simply said he disagreed with the ruling and would pursue a constitutional amendment. He ignored advice from conservatives, who urged him to follow the constitution and ignore it (since the court did not have the power or authority to impose it without action from the Legislature). In his statement that day, he emphasized his intention to work for gay rights alongside defending marriage!
Given that this ruling could be considered unconstitutional judicial activism on a par with Roe v. Wade, it's amazing Romney didn't have more to say. Further, he made no argument at all for why marriage mattered.
He and his staff identified and enforced a little-known 1913 law that allowed them to order local clerks not to issue marriage licenses to out-of-state couples. Absent this action, homosexual couples would surely have flooded into Massachusetts from other states to get "married" and then demanded that their home states recognize the "marriages," putting the nation only one court decision away from nationalizing "same-sex marriage."
The enforcement of the 1913 law was actually lax. The Boston Globe confirmed only the couple's word was needed to certify that they were Mass. residents; no documentary proof was required. (Romney's Chief Legal Counsel, Daniel Winslow, admitted this to the press at the time.) Further, why only pay attention to the wording of the 1913 section of the marriage law? Why did Romney not obey the wording "husband/wife" which clearly limited it to one man/one woman? The Legislature had never changed that, as advised by the Court. (Only the Legislature can make or suspend laws, according to the Mass. Constitution.)
o We do not agree with the claims that Gov. Romney had bogus Party A and Party B marriage licenses printed and ordered Justices of the Peace and Town Clerks to perform same-sex "marriages" when asked or be fired. As May 17, 2004 (the SJC's declaratory judgment date) approached, the Governor's Office of Legal Counsel issued provisional advisory instructions to the justices of the peace and prepared revised license applications.
These statements are outrageous. Romney certanly DID have the bogus "Party A" and "Party B" marriage licenses created. The Department of Public Health, which issues the licenses, was under the Governor's authority. It was a big controversy at the time. And he certainly DID order Justices of the Peace to perform same-sex "marriages" or be fired. That was widely reported in the press. Moreover, the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD, the radical homosexual attorneys behind the "gay marriage" lawsuit) may even have had a role in devising the "advisory instructions."
Romney's Chief Legal Counsel, Dan Winslow, was a pro-homosexual activist who worked to implement the same-sex marriage ruling. When Winslow subsequently ran for the state legislature in 2010 (as a Republican!), he was endorsed by the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, which thanked him for his support of the "gay marriage" ruling as Romney's legal counsel. At the time, both Romney and Winslow referred to the Court opinion as "law"!
Romney's "Party A and Party B" marriage certificate from 2004. See larger version HERE. See other "Party A and Party B" marriage paperwork HERE (4 pages) — and note that the application for a marriage license (p. 2) is dated 05/04 in the upper left corner.
This was considered so outrageous at the time that even Maggie Gallagher wrote a scathing article in TownHall.com on May 11, 2004 condemning Romney's actions.
These executive actions did not result in the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples before May 17. The new policies were carried out only after and as a direct result of the judiciary's final action in Goodridge on May 17. They did not generate same-sex marriages; that responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
No one is suggesting that marriage licenses were issued before May 17, 2004. But Romney had no constitutional authority — nor was he even "ordered" by the court — to issue them afterwards. The phrase "judiciary's final action" is meaningless. The Court could not have enforced its opinion if it had tried. Romney simply caved.
o We do not agree with the claims that Gov. Romney issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The governor does not issue marriage licenses in Massachusetts. Only the town clerks can do that. But the governor can issue one-day justice of the peace authorizations to an individual who wants to perform a marriage ceremony but is not a licensed minister, town clerk or justice of the peace. The governor's office issues thousands of those in a four year term with the only criteria being that the individual doing the ceremony is in good standing and the parties getting married have a valid marriage license.
Governor Romney issued discretionary one-day wedding certificates for at least 189 same-sex weddings in 2005 (as reported in the Boston Globe), and possibly more in 2004 and 2006. The special certificates allowed anyone of the couple's choosing to preside at their "marriage" ceremony (not just a clergy member or Justice of the Peace). This was an option the Governor could choose to exercise, or not. There was no requirement to issue the special certificates to anyone who applied. (The Boston Globe report in early 2006 created some confusion, using the word "license.") From the Globe: "The applications [for officiants] Romney approved included at least four from state legislators, including Jarrett T. Barrios, [an open homosexual and radical gay activist] state senator from Cambridge, members of the clergy from out-of- state, family members, and friends…. Romney's approval of the requests for same-sex couples could make for trouble as he tries to gain a toehold in primary states where conservative voters hold sway…. "
Actual marriage licenses for same-sex couples were issued by Town Clerks (under Romney's authority), thanks to an illegal change made by Romney's Dept. of Public Health, and orders from his Chief Legal Counsel. There is still no law authorizing these new licenses or "marriages." (Check the Mass. Law Library.) So in this sense, Romney has also issued real "licenses."
o Worked hard to overturn "same-sex marriage" in the Commonwealth with substantial results. In 2004 he lobbied hard, before a very hostile legislature, for a constitutional amendment protecting marriage - an amendment later changed by the legislature to include civil unions, which the Governor and many marriage amendment supporters opposed. Working with the Governor, we were successful in defeating this amendment.
What "substantial results"? Same-sex marriage has not been overturned!
Romney actually twisted the arms of Republican legislators, making the difference in the 2004 Travaglini-Lees compromise amendment's passage. (Boston Globe, "In crucial shift, governor sways 15 in GOP to support measure," 3-30-04.) Most of the Republicans in the Legislature were ready to hold fast and vote against that amendment, since it made the absurd claim marriage was "unique" - but civil unions were entirely the same. (It stated clearly: "All laws applicable to marriage shall also apply to civil unions.") Romney's argument that its initial passage would let him appeal to the Court for a stay of its "gay marriage" ruling made no sense. The Court had already rejected a trial balloon from the Legislature on civil unions. The Court majority was hardly going to retreat, seeing the Governor viewed their opinion as "law."
o Provided strong, active support for a record-setting citizen petition drive in 2005 to advance a clean constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The petition drive collected the largest number of signatures in Massachusetts history.
It was not a "clean" constitutional amendment. It allowed for the creation of civil unions or domestic partnerships, as long as they weren't called "marriage." It also would have allowed the previous "gay marriages" to stand, setting up a clear legal challenge. MassResistance at the time urged the amendment sponsors to do a strong amendment, but they refused. In any case, it appeared on the scene too late in the game. It was buried in June 2007.
Romney's amendment strategy was a total failure. Yet he had assured pro-family citizens that an amendment was sure to pass, and the only solution. He refused to defy the ruling, or consider the removal of the four SJC Justices. Precious energy and resources were wasted on chasing a highly unlikely amendment.
o Rallied thousands of citizens around the state to focus public and media attention on the failure of legislators, through repeated delays, to perform their constitutional obligation and vote on the marriage amendment. In November of 2006, Gov. Romney held the largest State House rally in Massachusetts history with over 7000 supporters of traditional marriage.
This was the only rally Romney attended besides an indoor televised event in the Tremont Temple Baptist Church (one month earlier, in Oct. 2006). Why did he never call (or at least attend) a rally for marriage — or the Constitution — prior to the very end of his term?
o Filed suit before the Supreme Judicial Court asking the court to clarify the legislators' duty to vote and failing that, to place the amendment on the 2008 ballot. That lawsuit, perhaps more than any other single action, was by all accounts instrumental in bringing the ultimate pressure on the legislators to vote. The SJC unanimously ruled that the Legislature must vote and the historic vote was taken on January 2, 2007 winning legislative support. This cleared a major hurdle in the three year effort to restore traditional marriage in the Commonwealth.
It was Ed Pawlick who originally petitioned the SJC in 2002 for an opinion in that regard, after the Legislature refused to vote on the 2002 Mass. Citizens for Marriage amendment. (Romney had opposed that amendment as "too extreme" for its ban on civil unions.) The SJC agreed with Pawlick that the Legislature had an obligation to vote. Romney's petition was thus unnecessary.
Romney's supporters make no mention that the VoteOnMarriage effort met its final doom in June 2007 when it failed to get a mere 25% vote in the Legislature.
o Fought for abstinence education. In 2006, under Governor Romney's leadership, Massachusetts' public schools began to offer a classroom program on abstinence from the faith-based Boston group Healthy Futures to middle school students. Promoting the program, Governor Romney stated, "I've never had anyone complain to me that their kids are not learning enough about sex in school. However, a number of people have asked me why it is that we do not speak more about abstinence as a safe and preventative health practice."
Romney tried to push this as a bill before the Legislature, with great fanfare. But he could have simply ordered his Department of Education to implement it. We asked his staff about that at the time, and they simply shrugged their shoulders.
o Affirmed the culture of life. Governor Romney vetoed bills to provide access to the so-called "morning-after pill," which is an abortifacient, as well as a bill providing for expansive, embryo-destroying stem cell research. He vetoed the latter bill in 2005 because he could not "in good conscience allow this bill to become law."
This happened after his "conversion" - i.e., after his presidential campaign got into swing.
But he also forced hospitals to offer the "morning-after pill," flip-flopping on the issue in just a few days time.
From ProlifeProfiles.com (Romney page):
" 2005 Veto and Mandate of Plan B: After having vetoed a requirement that hospitals offer Plan B to rape victims, Romney reverses himself and issued an executive order on December 8, 2005, against the legal opinion of his own State Department of Public Health, instructing all Catholic hospitals and others to provide chemical abortifacient Plan B to rape victims. [Of course every hospital should refuse to comply with any order to kill children.] As a December 9th Boston editorial put it, "Flip, flop, flip… Romney has now executed an Olympic-caliber double flip-flop with a gold medal performance twist-and-a-half."
o We do not agree with the claims that Gov. Romney is responsible for tax payer funded abortion under the Massachusetts health care system. That blame lies solely on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court who ruled in 1981 that the Massachusetts Constitution required payment for abortions for Medicaid-eligible women. In 1997, the Court reaffirmed its position that a state-subsidized plan must offer "medically necessary abortions."
These rulings were shaky at best and could have easily been challenged or simply ignored until a further court ruling. But Romney instead wanted to play ball with Ted Kennedy and the Democrat Legislature. Also, Planned Parenthood was written into the law as part of the permanent "advisory board" for the public health insurance system, which Romney did not object to. And what services would PP be likely to demand as benefits? Obviously, birth control and abortions.
For more information on Romney's inclusion of abortion services in RomneyCare, see "Mitt Funds Abortion: at ProlifeProfiles.com (Romney page).
o Stood for religious freedom. Governor Romney was stalwart in defense of the right of Catholic Charities of Boston to refuse to allow homosexual couples to adopt children in its care. Catholic Charities was loudly accused of "discrimination," but Governor Romney correctly pointed out that it is unjust to force a religious agency to violate the tenets of its faith in order to placate a special-interest group.
This was the height of grandstanding and hypocrisy. There was no "law" requiring Catholic Charities to include homosexuals as parents. It was only administrative regulations — which Romney could have changed at any time. (Even former Democrat Gov. Dukakis admitted that.) But Romney and the press went along with the sham, even though no law existed.
o Filed "An Act Protecting Religious Freedom" in the Massachusetts legislature to save Catholic Charities of Boston and other religious groups from being forced to violate their moral principles or stop doing important charitable work.
Since there was no law to repeal, the "Act Protecting Religious Freedom" was a phony bill whose text (when we examined it) in fact changed nothing. Romney knew that it would die in the Legislature anyway, so it was just a gesture. Further, the Mass. Constitution Declaration of Rights and U.S. Bill of Rights already gave adequate protection for the free exercise of religion.
All of this may explain why John J. Miller, the national political reporter of National Review, wrote that "a good case can be made that Romney has fought harder for social conservatives than any other governor in America, and it is difficult to imagine his doing so in a more daunting political environment."
Miller and others have completely ignored Governor Romney's promotion of the homosexual agenda in the Massachusetts schools, through his Governor's Commission on Gay & Lesbian Youth, and his Dept. of Education "Safe Schools" programs (originally conceived by Kevin Jennings, founder of GLSEN and Obama's former "Safe Schools Czar"). Romney failed to uphold the Parents' Rights Law (on human sexuality issues in the schools). Is that fighting hard for social conservatives?
We are aware of the 1994 comments of Senate candidate Romney, which have been the subject of much recent discussion. While they are, taken by themselves, obviously worrisome to social conservatives including ourselves, they do not dovetail with the actions of Governor Romney from 2003 until now - and those actions have positively and demonstrably impacted the social climate of Massachusetts.
Actually, Romney has repeatedly said that his 1994 statements in support of the broad homosexual agenda (except for the word "marriage") have not changed at all. And they continue to be "worrisome." Where does he draw the line on where demands for new "rights" should end?
Since well before 2003, we have been laboring in the trenches of Massachusetts, fighting for the family values you and we share. It is difficult work indeed - not for the faint of heart. In this challenging environment, Governor Romney has proven that he shares our values, as well as our determination to protect them.
For four years, Governor Romney was right there beside us, providing leadership on key issues - whether it was politically expedient to do so or not. He has stood on principle, and we have benefited greatly from having him with us.
It is clear that Governor Romney has learned much since 1994 - to the benefit of our movement and our Commonwealth. In fact, the entire nation has benefited from his socially conservative, pro-family actions in office. As we explained earlier, his leadership on the marriage issue helped prevent our nation from being plunged into even worse legal turmoil following the court decision that forced "gay marriage" upon our Commonwealth.
For that our country ought to be thankful. We certainly are.
Gerald D. D'Avolio
Raymond L. Flynn
Professor Mary Ann Glendon
Dr. Roberto Miranda
James F. Morgan
Thomas A. Shields
Note: The signatories are all acting as individual citizens, and not as representatives of their respective organizations. Organizational affiliations appear for identification purposes only.
NOTE: Information in rebuttals above is extensively documented in new E-Book, "How 'Gay Marriage' Came to Massachusetts: Governor Mitt Romney's Failure in a Constitutional Crisis." available from Amazon ($4.95) online, and can be read on any computer, IPhone, IPad, etc., with free reading apps.