In last evening’s GOP presidential debate, Mitt Romney was asked by Byron York of the Washington Examiner whether he thought state legislators (as in New York) had the right to make same-sex marriage legal in their states. Romney answered:
I’d far prefer having the [representatives of the] people make that decision
than justices. But I believe the issue of marriage should be decided at
the federal level.
You might wonder why is that? Why wouldn’t
you just let each state make their own decision? And the reason is
because people move from state to state of course in a society like
ours, they have children. As to go to different states, if one state
recognizes a marriage and the other does not, what’s the right of that
child? What kind of divorce proceeding potential would there be in a
state that didn’t recognize a marriage in the first place?
are–marriage is a status. It’s not an activity that goes on within
the walls of a state. And a result our marriage status relationship
should be constant across the country.
I believe we should have a
federal amendment in the constitution that defines marriage as a
relationship between a man and woman, because I believe the ideal place
to raise a child is in a home with a mom and a dad.
The follow-up question I’d like to have asked is: “So, governor, do you believe than that the Supreme Court was right to uphold federal anti-polygamy laws in its 1890 Reynolds decision?” That may be a “gotcha” question, but Romney knows as well as any American religious historian that in 19th-century inter-mountain Mormonism the doctrine of plural marriage was as deeply held as a religious doctrine can be. Are the complexities of interstate family law and a belief in a one-mom-one-dad ideal sufficient to trump a central tenet of a faith tradition–not least, your own?