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"...in 2003, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in a 4-3 decision, ruled that marriage in the commonwealth would no longer be limited to unions between men and women, Romney pushed for an amendment to the state constitution that would outlaw gay marriage..."

One Fallout from Massuchusetts Supreme Court Decision — Children: 

Over two years after the supreme court's decision to legalize gay unions, after the democrat dominated state legislature's continued refusal to pursue overturning the decision with an amended state constitution, the Bishops over Catholic charities announced they would stop providing adoption services in order to prevent being forced to adopt children to gay couples.

Mitt Romney immediately pursued getting a bill passed that would exempt religious institutions from the state's anti-discrimination laws for that situation, which would enable Catholic Charities to continue adoption services.

However, the democrat dominated legislature refused. Rather than seek for a way to allow the charity to continue serving while not compromising the Catholic Church's beliefs, as Governor Romney wanted, they instead chose only to personally attack him for his efforts with accusations of political posturing.

Gay marriage and adoption
Oct 21, 2007 (1:16 min)

More statements on this can be found on this page here

The Bishops previously investigated whether there could be a quick solution by the governor, who was supportive of their position, in executing an executive order allowing an exemption, but he informed them since it was a law passed by the legislature he unfortunately did not have the legal authority to do that. In the face of the legislature's inaction, being left only with the option of suing the state for that right, and with the United Way (Catholic Charities largest donor) threatening to pull funding from Catholic Charities if they didn't adopt to gay couples, they chose instead to close down their adoption operations.

(After this event in March 2006, the governor and the Bishops continued to work together in fighting the legislature to pass the amendment, that would resolve this and other issues. One article that talked about their united efforts months later in July 2006, mentioned "Last week, Romney and Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley called on the lawmakers to allow a vote")

Below are excerpts of news stories explaining the events:

''In a stunning turn of events, Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley and leaders of Catholic Charities of Boston announced yesterday that the agency will end its adoption work, deciding to abandon its founding mission, rather than comply with state law requiring that gays be allowed to adopt children.

''The Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities of Boston, and Jeffrey Kaneb, chairman of the board, said that after much reflection and analysis, they could not reconcile church teaching that placement of children in gay homes is "immoral" with Massachusetts law prohibiting discrimination against gays...

''Catholic Charities of Boston began in 1903 as an adoption agency... Catholic Charities is widely respected among adoption providers and has handled more adoptions of foster children than any other private agency in the state...

''Almost immediately after the announcement, Governor Mitt Romney, who was in Tennessee speaking to a Republican group, issued a statement saying he would file legislation to exempt religious organizations that provide adoption services from the state's antidiscrimination laws.

'' "I ask the Legislature to work with me on a bill that I will file to ensure that religious institutions are able to participate in the important work of adoption in a way that always respects and never forces them to compromise their firmly held beliefs," Romney said.

''Lawmakers have said that Romney's bill has little chance of passage...

''On Feb. 28, the four bishops announced a plan to seek an exemption from the antidiscrimination laws... That day, Hehir and O'Malley met with Romney in his State House office to make their case for an exemption, but Romney said he lacked the authority to do so. Hehir and O'Malley left the State House feeling that nothing could be done soon for their cause. The bishops had considered launching a court challenge, but Hehir said he and O'Malley realized it would cost "too much time and energy" -- without any certainty of victory.

'' "It became clear our options were narrow," Hehir said...

''Some board members said another concern was the potential impact on financing. The United Way of Massachusetts Bay, which provided $1.2 million to Catholic Charities last year and is the largest private funder of the agency, planned to review its funding if the agency discriminated against gays and lesbians in its adoption work.

''By late last week, Hehir said, it became clear that the simplest approach would be to withdraw from adoption services altogether.''

''Calling it a matter of "religious freedom," Governor Mitt Romney said yesterday that he plans to file a bill that would exempt religious organizations from the state's antidiscrimination laws to permit Catholic Charities and other religious groups to refuse to provide adoption services when doing so violates their faith.

''The proposal was immediately denounced by top Democrats...

''Ann Dufresne, a spokeswoman for Senate President Robert E. Travaglini, said the bill would have little support in the Senate. "Given the antidiscrimination laws and the history of gay adoption, there's been nothing to suggest that there's been a problem with these adoptions," she said.

''Romney, who was attending a Republican conference in Tennessee, announced he would file the bill promptly, after Catholic Charities of Boston said yesterday it will stop providing adoption services because Massachusetts requires that qualified gays and lesbians be allowed to adopt.

'' "This is a sad day for neglected and abandoned children," the governor said in a statement. "In this case, it's a mistake for our laws to put the rights of adults over the needs of children."

''The Catholic bishops of the state have said that Catholic Charities could no longer arrange adoptions by same-sex couples. The bishops have said that church doctrine calls gay adoptions "gravely immoral."

''State antidiscrimination law includes an exemption for churches in instances involving core religious functions. However, Catholic Charities, which acts as an agent of the state in placing children, is subject to antidiscrimination laws involving adoption.

''Romney said he wants the Legislature to change antidiscrimination laws so that religious groups can make adoption placements without compromising their tenets... Eric Fehrnstrom, the governor's spokesman, said the bill will be "narrowly drafted to address the impediments" that prompted Catholic Charities of Boston to abandon its adoption services...

''John H. Garvey, dean of Boston College Law School, said federal courts have repeatedly upheld exemptions for religious groups from federal antidiscrimination laws.

'' "We must not forget, in our desire to promote aims like women's equality or equality on the basis of sexual orientation, that we also need to keep an eye out for religious liberty," he said.

''But Laurence H. Tribe, a leading constitutional scholar at Harvard Law School and a well-known advocate of legalized gay marriage, said Romney's proposal would probably violate the First Amendment...

''House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi... said in a statement that the state must "ensure that discrimination is not tolerated in this vital publicly-supported function." He promised to review Romney's bill, but added that "if it condones discrimination, it will violate our Constitution, and I will oppose it." ...

'' "It is reprehensible that any governor would support a policy of discrimination against any group of people, regardless of whether the discrimination is based on race or creed or sexual preference," said Philip W. Johnston, chairman of the state Democratic Party.

''But Fehrnstrom insisted that the governor was protecting the First Amendment. "Catholics and people of other faiths should be allowed to carry out their mission of helping people without violating their religious beliefs," he said.''

''Gov. Mitt Romney filed a bill Wednesday that would exempt the Boston Archdiocese's Catholic Charities from a state anti-discrimination law that says it must provide adoption services to gay and lesbian couples...

''Romney's bill, "An Act Protecting Religious Freedom," would exempt religious organizations from the state's anti-discrimination requirements when providing adoption or foster placement services. He said the exemption would not allow discrimination based on race, creed, national origin, gender or handicap...

'' "It is a matter beyond dispute, and a prerequisite to the preservation of liberty, that government not dictate to religious institutions the moral principles by which they are to carry out their charitable and divine mission," Romney said in a letter to House and Senate leaders.

''He said Catholic Charities' withdrawal from providing adoption services creates a void in the child welfare system.

'' "In this case, the needs of children must come before the rights of adults," he said.''

''The decision yesterday by the state's largest religious denomination to end its century-old adoption program illustrates a dramatic and intensifying clash between church and state...

''In the early 20th century, Archbishop John J. Williams established and Cardinal William H. O'Connell strengthened Catholic Charities, an archdiocesan social services organization. The agency's earliest work was adoptions... In recent decades, broadening its application of Catholic social teaching, Catholic Charities took on the heartbreaking and challenging work of finding homes for children in state custody, those whose age, behavior or health made them undesirable to many families seeking to adopt.

''But a conflict between the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts and Beacon Hill [Massachusetts state government] has been evolving for several decades, as state policy makers have adopted an increasingly expansive view of gay rights, starting with a nondiscrimination measure in 1989 and culminating in 2004, when Massachusetts became the only state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage...

''For the bishops the choice was difficult but clear.

'' "Sadly, we have come to a moment when Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Boston must withdraw from the work of adoptions, in order to exercise the religious freedom that was the prompting for having begun adoptions many years ago," Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley of Boston said yesterday.''

''For two decades, Catholic Charities has occupied a small but crucial niche in the state's sprawling social safety net: helping to find homes for the most troubled foster children, including those with HIV and AIDS, mental and emotional problems, and histories of abuse.

''The Boston agency's decision yesterday to abandon that service will eliminate that critical link between thousands of foster children and the families looking to adopt them...

'' "Catholic Charities has really been a gold standard in providing adoption services to children in the welfare system for a long time, so this is a tragedy," said Marylou Sudders, president of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. "This is a tragedy for kids." ...

'' "It's a shame," Wisnewski [director of adoption for the Home for Little Wanderers, based in Boston] said, "because it is certainly going to mean that fewer children from foster care are going to find permanent homes." ...

''[Sudders] said, "There's 10,000 kids in the care or custody of DSS, several thousand waiting for adoption, and we have lost a valuable partner in finding loving homes for these kids." ''

Open Letter by Massachusetts pro-family leaders, Jan 11, 2007:

“As you know, Mitt Romney became the governor of our state in 2003. Since that time, we have worked closely with him and his excellent staff on that [pro-family] 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:

Staunchly defended traditional marriage. (details are then given)

Worked hard to overturn "same-sex marriage" in the Commonwealth (details given)

Provided active support for a successful citizen petition drive in 2005 to advance a clean constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Filed suit before the Supreme Judicial Court. (details given)

Fought for abstinence education. (details given)

Affirmed the culture of life. (details given)

Stood for religious freedom. Last year, 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.

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.

“All of this may explain why John J. Miller, the national political reporter of National Review, has written 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." ...

“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 has been 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...”

signed sincerely,

Rita Covelle

President, Morality in the Media Massachusetts

Richard Guerriero

Immediate Past State Deputy, Massachusetts State Council, Knights of Columbus,

Mary Ann Glendon

Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard Law School (and president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in Rome)

Kristian Mineau

President, Massachusetts Family Institute

Dr. Roberto Miranda

President, COPAHNI Fellowship of Hispanic Pastors of New England (and Chairman of Voteonmarriage.org and Covenant for New England)

James Morgan

President, Institute for Family Development

Joseph Reilly

President, Massachusetts Citizens for Life

Thomas A. Shields

Chairman, Coalition for Family and Marriage


President of the Massachusetts Family Institute comments on Romney and the letter:

"Mineau is among those Massachusetts social conservatives who are grateful to have had Romney in the statehouse... “For the four years of his administration, Governor Romney provided strong leadership on key conservative social issues — whether it was politically expedient to do so or not.” He tells National Review Online, “I believe Mitt Romney has done an excellent job in defending traditional family values in Massachusetts despite an extremely hostile legislature and judiciary, not to mention an attorney general and secretary of state who both opposed everything the governor stood for.” ...

"Mineau adds, “From the onset of the infamous Goodridge court decision in 2003, Governor Romney has opposed same-sex marriage and, I believe, correctly sought to overturn it through a constitutional amendment. In 2004, he invoked the state law that prohibited out-of-state same-sex couples from marrying in Massachusetts thus preventing the exportation of these so-called marriages to other states. In 2005, he ardently supported a citizen petition for an amendment to end same-sex marriage that wound up gathering a record number of 170,000 signatures. Throughout 2006 he lobbied the state legislature that was refusing to vote on the amendment. His intense involvement culminated with the filing of a suit in the State Supreme Judicial Court in December to mandate the legislature to hold the vote as required by the state constitution.”

"Mineau directly credits Romney with getting the state legislature to vote on a constitutional amendment on gay marriage earlier this month. He explains, “The court unanimously ruled on December 27 that the legislature was constitutionally obligated to vote. This ruling, coupled with the governor threatening to not sign the end-of-year legislative pay raise, resulted in the legislature passing the amendment on January 2nd, the last day of the session. This could never have happened without Governor Romney’s leadership.”

"Mineau is among the signatories of a letter expected to be released on Thursday by a coalition of “organizations dedicated to fighting for the pro-family agenda in Massachusetts.” ... The letter, which organizers provided NRO with drafts of Wednesday night, defends the governor’s record and praises his staff for their commitment to affirming a culture of life, protecting traditional marriage, and defending religious liberty. Among those signing the letter are Harvard University law professor Mary Ann Glendon (who also serves as the president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in Rome)."

" “On marriage and cloning, he has provided aggressive leadership as a positive, pro-family governor,” says Kris Mineau of the Massachusetts Family Institute."

Expanded Open Letter with additional Social Conservatives signing on

The above letter has been expanded in light of incorrect information during the 2012 election. It has been signed by the same signatories as the first letter with a couple of additional signatories replacing one from the previous cycle. Also a dozen Florida social conservatives have signed onto the expanded letter.

The new letter includes the following:

“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 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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

Statements / Views up to and including 2012 Campaign

Mitt Romney has repeatedly stated he does not favor gay adoption.

In a Fox interview in which he stated opposition to gay marriage he made a statement that appeared to support gay adoption. He quickly clarified that his preference for raising children is in a home with a mother and father and that he was only acknowledging that gay adoption is legal in most states, not that he supports it.

Statements Gov. Romney has made on parenting and gay adoptions:

Fox Interview May 10, 2012:

Clarifications of statement on gay adoption:

Omaha, NE's KETV interview - Thursday May 10, 2012

Charlotte, NC’s WBTV-CLT (The Clt!) Paul Cameron interview - May 11, 2012

Testimony by Gov. Romney on gay adoption:

“Marriage is not solely about adults. Marriage is also for children. In fact, marriage is principally for the nurturing and development of children. The children of America have the right to have a mother and a father.

“Of course, even today, circumstances can take a parent from the home, but the child still has a mother and a father. If the parents are unmarried or divorced, the child can visit each of them. If a mother or a father is deceased, the child can learn about the qualities of their departed parent. His or her psychological development can still be influenced by the contrasting features of both genders.

“Are we ready to usher in a society indifferent about having mothers and fathers? Will our children be indifferent about having a mother and a father?

“My Department of Public Health has recently asked whether we must rewrite our State birth certificate to conform to our court's ruling. Must we remove ``father'' and ``mother'' and replace them with ``parent A'' and ``parent B''?

“What should be the ideal for raising a child: not a village, not ``parent A'' and ``parent B,'' but a mother and a father.

“Marriage is about even more than children and adults. The family unit is the structural underpinning of all successful societies. And it is the single most powerful force that preserves society across generations, through centuries.

“Scientific studies of children raised by same-sex couples are almost non-existent. And the societal implications and effects on these children are not likely to be observed for at least a generation...

“As I have said in my testimony, I believe the importance with regard to the marriage institution is that it relates to the development, the care, and the nurturing of children, and that the State's interest in preserving marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman is a reflection of our interest in the development of children and the preservation of that development process through future generations.”

CharlieRose.com - Interview with Judy Woodruff - June 5, 2006

(Begining of interview)

» More quotes by Gov. Romney on gay issues