Romney Pledged in '94 to Seek Gay Rights

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Associated Press
Sunday, December 10, 2006

BOSTON, Dec. 9 -- Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) is facing new questions about his beliefs on gay issues after the emergence of a letter he wrote during his 1994 U.S. Senate run, in which he promised to be a stronger advocate for gays than Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D).

The Massachusetts governor has emphasized his opposition to same-sex marriage in recent months as he positions himself for an expected 2008 run for the Republican presidential nomination.

The 1994 letter was written to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts, a gay Republican group, when Romney was courting gay voters during his unsuccessful campaign against Kennedy.

Citing Kennedy's record of advocacy for gays and lesbians, Romney wrote: "For some voters, it might be enough to simply match my opponent's record in this area. But I believe we can and must do better. If we are to achieve the goals we share, we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern. My opponent cannot do this. I can and will."

A gay-oriented Massachusetts newspaper, Bay Windows, has also released a transcript of a 1994 interview with Romney during the Senate race.

"I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party, and I would be a voice in the Republican Party to foster anti-discrimination efforts," Romney said, according to the transcript.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said Romney's comments were "quite disturbing."

"This is going to create a lot of problems for Governor Romney," Perkins told the New York Times. "He is going to have a hard time overcoming this."

Conservative activist Paul M. Weyrich told the Times, "Unless he comes out with an abject repudiation of this, I think it makes him out to be a hypocrite."

Romney was wrapping up a week-long trip to Asia on Saturday and could not be reached for comment.

In an e-mailed statement, Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said that, as governor, Romney has supported "traditional marriage" and "the needs of children."


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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