LOS ANGELES – Mitt Romney, who fought the legalization of same-sex marriage when he was governor of Massachusetts, said Wednesday that his stand on that “tender and sensitive topic” had not changed.
“I have the same view that I’ve had since running for office,” the presumptive Republican nominee for president told reporters at a campaign stop in Oklahoma City.
Romney spoke hours after President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, a move that could have a significant influence on some voters in Virginia, Iowa and other presidential battleground states in November.
Romney had declined to discuss the subject publicly at a campaign event earlier Wednesday in Colorado, but invited questions from the media at his afternoon appearance with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin at the Republican Party headquarters in Oklahoma City.
Romney’s shift from staunch advocate of gay rights when he was running for governor to outspoken leader of the drive to ban same-sex marriage after a court legalized it in Massachusetts has led critics to accuse him of switching positions on the issue for political gain.
Asked in Oklahoma City what rights same-sex couples should enjoy, Romney responded, “States are able to make decisions with regards to domestic partnership benefits, such as hospital visitation rights.
“Benefits and so forth of various kinds could be determined state by state. But my view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that’s my own preference. I know other people have differing views. This is a very tender and sensitive topic, as are many social issues.”