Oklahoma City (CNN) - Mitt Romney reaffirmed his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, hours after the Wednesday announcement by President Barack Obama in support of same-sex marriage.
The presumptive GOP nominee told reporters he believed states should have the ability to extend some rights to gay couples, short of marriage.
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"States are able to make decisions with regard to domestic partnership benefits such as hospital visitation rights, benefits and so forth, of various kinds can 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," he said at the Oklahoma Republican Party headquarters in Oklahoma City. "This is a very tender and sensitive topic as are many social issues, but I have the same view that I've had since running for office."
Responding to a growing media stir over his stance on gay marriage, President Obama said on ABC News he supported the right of same-sex couples to marry.
His announcement came a day after voters in North Carolina resoundingly approved an amendment to the state's constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
While North Carolina joined a swath of swing states - including Virginia, Florida, Nevada and Ohio - in passing traditional marriage legislation, a Gallup poll released in early May showed Americans are split over the issue.
Romney has long hewn to a conservative stance on marriage, though as Massachusetts governor he reached out to gay rights groups with pledges of support on other issues.
This campaign cycle he signed a National Organization for Marriage pledge in support of a federal marriage amendment.
Even before Obama's comments Wednesday, Romney reiterated his opposition to expanding marital rights to same-sex couples.
"Well when these issues were raised in my state of Massachusetts, I indicated my view, which is I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name," Romney told Colorado news station KDVR. "My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not."
Following Romney's press conference, Obama's reelection campaign immediately seized on Romney's remarks.
Spokesman Ben LaBolt tweeted: "@MittRomney just refused to say he supports hospital visitation rights at a federal level for gays and lesbians."
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Mr. Romney shouldn't get into the issue of who should or shouldn't marry. He may open uo an historical can of worms and, more importantly, the issue just doesn't carry the importance of jobs and the economy. By the way, he has done little but ask for our trust. We've seen no viable economic plan; just "cut taxes", of which we see the fruit currently. Let's see some real ideas. Maybe being the anti-Obama will be enough to win. I doubt it, though. He needs to present tangible positions.
Mitt did NOT say that his viewpoints haven't changed...He said his viewpoints haven't changed, "since he started running [for president]." When he was running for Ted Kenney's seat, he gave an interview to Bay Windows (Boston's gay news magazine) and he specifically said that he was going to run to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay right's issues, which included being FOR gay marriage.
Ooh the times have changed yet again Mittster.
there are a lot more issues that need to be addressed gay marriage is just a minor issue that needs to be taken care of. I feel that president obama is not a capable of rebuilding this country getting it back on track. he promised to do a lot of things and he has done nothing but race the deficit that america will never be able to dig out of.
A sign of a person growing intellectually is seeing both sides.Changing your opionion on something does not mean your less of a person.Our president is saying he was wrong in his thinking prior. Does no one here ever change their minds?? This whole thing is silly to say well he is out now just handed it to Romney.He changed his mind given other facts and seeing the other sides views, this is not wrong to me, this is a strong man who can say he was wrong about something and admit a mistake in thinking.Some people need to grow up and get with the program.