ANALYSIS | Despite his seemingly conservative views and leanings, when it comes to social issues, there are several enigmas in the Mitt Romney campaign that may lead his opponents to declare him a flip-flop.
Massachusetts was the first state to allow gay marriage in 2003. It was decided by the Massachusetts court system, as opposed to any move by the legislature or then-governor Romney in the statehouse. The Christian Science Monitor reported in May 2004 that Romney was firmly against gay marriage as a conservative governor in a liberal state when he first ran for office. As the law changed, eventually Romney advocated for benefits for same-sex couples, such as health insurance and family leave time.
Two and a half years later, Romney stated he wanted a same-sex marriage question to be put before voters in Massachusetts. The Washington Post added that his term was due to expire in a month and a half when Romney demanded the high court to put it to voters. He wanted to court to rule only if the legislature didn't vote on the question during that current session.
Fast forward to July when Romney was campaigning in Iowa. MSNBC reported the former Massachusetts governor refused to sign a 14-point pledge by The Family Leader that calls on candidates to denounce same-sex marriage rights.
A month later, the National Organization for Marriage got Romney's pledge. CBS News stated the pledge affirms the candidate's willingness to seek a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in America. The pledge culminated eight years of wrangling with gay marriage for much of Romney's career since he was governor.
The former governor of Massachusetts was asked about his apparent flip-flop on gay marriage in New Hampshire Oct. 10. ABC News said Romney stopped answering questions about the issue at a town hall meeting after he was repeatedly asked about his current view on same-sex marriage.
Fox News reported in 2006 that then-governor Romney was pro-abortion as late as 2002. He said he changed his mind after being briefed on stem cell research. He compared himself to Ronald Reagan who at one time was pro-abortion and then altered his stance later in life.
Politico stated in mid-June that Romney refused to sign the Susan B. Anthony List pledge affirming his anti-abortion stance. Unlike some of his opponents, he realized the difficulty of living up to the pledge in a broader sense of running a government which goes beyond abortion rights. Deseret News out of Utah reported Rep. Michele Bachmann instantly criticized him for not signing the pledge, even though Romney asserted he is pro-life except in instances of rape, incest or the jeopardy of the mother's life.
Think Progress posted a quote from Romney saying the Supreme Court should reverse Roe v. Wade and send the abortion rights issue back to the states. His evolving views might set him up for attack from his rivals as they get increasingly desperate to try to make a stand against the perceived front runner. The Boston Globe reported Oct. 9 that Bachmann and Perry both may start assailing Romney's social issue record to try to win over more supporters in upcoming debates.