Romney Supports 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

By John Solomon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 19, 2007

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R), who once advocated allowing gays to serve openly in the military, said yesterday that he does not think the Pentagon should change its "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the midst of the Iraq war.

" 'Don't ask, don't tell' has worked well. We're in the middle of a conflict. Now is not the time for a change in that regard, and I don't have a policy posture as to allowing gays in the military to serve there openly," Romney, a presidential candidate, said on ABC's "This Week."

Romney also addressed his revised positions over the years on subjects key to social conservatives and discussed his Mormon faith. Both are issues that have emerged early in his presidential bid.

"I'm not running for pastor in chief. I'm running for commander in chief," he said, dismissing concerns that his faith might affect his policies by saying all religions share common values as "one family of humanity."

On other key issues, Romney said:

· He opposes discrimination against gays and lesbians but supports a federal amendment defining marriage as limited to a man and a woman. "Marriage is primarily an institution to help develop children. And children's development, I believe, is greatly enhanced by access to a mom and a dad," he said.

· President Bush's decision to increase the number of troops in Iraq is "the right thing to do."

· He believes that "abortion is taking human life." Although Romney ran for the Senate in 1994 as a pro-choice candidate, he said yesterday that the decision on whether abortions should be legal should be left to the states. "There are lots of things that are morally very difficult, and in some cases repugnant, that we let states decide," he said.

Romney's wife, Ann, joined him for the interview. She said she and her husband discussed, before he decided to run, whether the stress of a campaign might aggravate her multiple sclerosis.

"I clearly don't have enormous reserves of energy and I really do hit 'Empty' pretty quickly, and I've got to learn how to manage that," she said.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company