August 30th, 2007
06:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Romney: Iowa ruling 'against the will of the people'

Mitt Romney in 2004 at a press conference regarding same-sex marriage in Massachusetts

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who faced the issue as governor of Massachusetts, criticized an Iowa district court ruling Thursday that said same-sex couples have the right to marry.

A judge in Polk County, Iowa, said gay couples must be allowed to get married because of the state constitution's guarantee of equal treatment.  The judge also struck a state law that banned same-sex marriages and said valid marriage is only between a male and a female.  The ruling came in response to a lawsuit by six gay couples seeking permission to marry, and will now go to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Romney, leading in the Iowa polls after courting conservative support, was the first candidate to react to the decision.  In a statement, he said, "The ruling is Iowa today is another example of an activist court and unelected judges trying to define marriage and disregard the will of the people as expressed through Iowa's Defense of Marriage Act.  This once again highlights the need for a Federal Marriage Amendment to protect the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman."

Romney, who was governor when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages in 2004, did approve certificates allowing gay couples to marry.  But he worked with other opponents in an effort to overturn the state law, and has pushed for a national ban.

–CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Filed under: Iowa • Mitt Romney • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Karen, Orlando, Fl.

    Those of you opposed to gay marriage need to either grow up or wake up. Society, if nothing more is always progressive. Don't believe me? Think back 50 years to interracial marriages..they were scandalous and very rare and something that most people did not speak of in how are interracial marriages viewed?????? They are part of the norm, yes, there are still parts of this country where racisism still exist but those areas are getting smaller evey year.
    Same sex marriage has been legal in Massachusetts for years and I know that my life in Florida hasn't changed just because some people that I don't know fell in love and decided to make a commitment to one another, has your life changed since that law was enacted?????

    August 31, 2007 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  2. Daniel, Middletown,DE

    We do not need Romney and his rich friends running this country. Am i the only one who veiws this guy as a joke.

    August 31, 2007 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  3. Kerry, Lexington MA

    I identify myself as an American, not a Californian or a Texan or wherever else I've lived in the U.S. Something as fundamental as who is and who is not allowed to marry should be national. And, like it or not, sometimes the majority opinion isn't the right one. Something that is true is still true whether you believe it or not. Romney may be expressing a somewhat unpopular opinion in regards to gay marriage, but being popular and being right are two very different things. Support a constitutional amendment in support of traditional marriage.

    August 31, 2007 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  4. Matthew W. Combest

    Does't everyone realize that women were given the right to vote, Blacks were given the right to vote, Interracial Marrage, all of these were all against the will of the people at the time – looking back, were those "morally wrong"? It was not until after the laws were passed that the public accepted these laws as the right thing to do. Mitt, go back to Utah and keep your opinions of hate to yourself.

    August 31, 2007 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  5. Rick, Chiago Illinois

    Don't worry, He'll change his mind on that soon enough.

    Flip flops for everyone!

    August 31, 2007 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  6. Kerry, Lexington MA

    I identify myself as an American, not a Californian or a Texan or wherever else I've lived in the U.S. Something as fundamental as who is and who is not allowed to marry should be national. And, like it or not, sometimes the majority opinion isn't the right one. Something that is true is still true whether you believe it or not. Romney may be expressing a somewhat unpopular opinion in regards to gay marriage, but being popular and being right are two very different things. Don't let a few people change the meaning of a word. Support a constitutional amendment with the real definition of marriage.

    August 31, 2007 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  7. Craig, Dallas TX

    Let's see, abolishing slavery was once not the will of the people and neither was ending segregation...The will of the people is not always right as the majority often see fit to supress the minority.

    August 31, 2007 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  8. Rich, Indianola, IA

    Oh, let's not let something trivial like facts get in the way of the comment. Iowans are permitted to vote to retain or dismiss all judges. And it is not taken lightly. Two Iowa political conservative groups have made it their goal in life to remove those 'activists' who don't subscribe to their 'point of view'. Perhaps Mr. Romney should have given call to all 'good' Iowans to vote Hanson out without fail... and the MSM should be calling Romney on his blatantly factual 'error'.

    August 31, 2007 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  9. WDRussell, East Liverpool, Ohio

    The government, fed.,state,local should just stay out of this.
    It is only a decision between the two people involved.

    August 31, 2007 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  10. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Claude of AZ says: "Wow! What is this country coming to? It's Sodom and Gomorrah all over again. Time is obviously growing nigh and God will destroy this and other wickedness."

    This is the kind of person that frightens me the most. Osama bin Laden is less of a threat to my freedom than Americans who know what God is thinking.

    August 31, 2007 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  11. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Marriage is a holy sacrament, and as such should be granted by a minister, priest, imam, shaman, or other practicioner of religiosity.

    Let the government grant a civil union to any set of adults who wish to form a social unit for economic and emotional security.

    Let God or the gods grant marriage to those who want to feel that their union is blessed. Let the government sanction contracts among adult citizens who wish to form an economic union for the purposes of insurance, inheritance, property ownership, etc.

    Let every tiny minority who imagines itself to be "real" Americans who support "real" American values (Catholics, fundamentalists, gays, capitalists, feminists, etc.) shut up about this so we can focus on some real problems.

    August 31, 2007 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  12. Sully, Lawrenceburg KY

    Kudos to Iowa for their important step in making sure the America of tomorrow knows no discrimination. Decisions like these show exactly what can be achieved when you look at what todays America was built on, and realize it says nothing about choosing a specific group of people to deny basic rights to.

    August 31, 2007 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  13. Don R., San Antonio, TX

    "Why should the gay population (5% of the entire population) be controlling the laws governing the other 95% of the populace?"

    Posted By James, New Haven : August 30, 2007 10:15 pm

    The answer to your question, James, is that even 95% of the population do not have a right to decide who an individual of legal age and sound mind can marry. This was true when the prohibition was against mixed race couples, and it is true now when applied to same gender couples. Equal protection is just that, Equal.

    By the same token, no one will tell you that you HAVE to marry a man, James, so you can relax.

    August 31, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  14. Mark, Rio de Janeiro

    WHY do we have to get a license from the government when we want to marry? WHO are these people anyway? The decision to get married is between those getting married. They can ratify it however they please – privately, publicly, by contract, by church, whatever! The government has no role in deciding this. My marriage is sacred because I hold it so, not because some stupid bureaucrat stamped the paper.

    August 31, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Why should I have to remind people that this government is supposed to be a Republic? That is, it is based upon INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY, not upon the TYRANNY of the majority. The Iowa ruling is reasonable. Let the ranting bigots manage their own lives (that includes you, Mitt Romney).

    August 31, 2007 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  16. Noel, Norfolk, VA

    Good for Iowa. However... Marriage is unique in that it's the only religious ceremony recognized and performed under civil law. If people don't want to support gay marriage, then end civil marriage ceremonies and move them into churches. That way, gays and straight people who don't want the religious sacrament can still have legally binding contracts and benefits, and religious sensibilities are not offended. Everyone wins.

    August 31, 2007 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  17. CitizenJ

    Romney says this ruling is trying to define marriage? Actually, I thought it STRUCK DOWN a law that defined marriage.

    I just need to get this straight in my own head. So, in one sentence, he says that the ruling bad because it is trying to define marriage. In the VERY NEXT sentence, he says this is why we need a Federal Marriage Amendment to....define marriage? Am I going crazy?

    I don't understand why people get so upset that gay people want to get married. It's not like they are coming over to your house and fornicating on your lawn. Maybe you should take a tiny stroll to the left and realize that you are wanting to deny people rights based simply on the fact that you don't like that they are gay.

    I'm guessing that most of you are Christians and base your decision on that. I've seen the Constitution, and I don't recall God's name being on there, so until this is a theocracy, please keep your ignorance to yourself.

    I tend not to take seriously a group of people whose spokesman is Larry Craig.

    August 31, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  18. Pat, Huntington, NY

    Only when court decisions go against their way, do rethuglicans play the activist judge deciding against the will of the people card. What he and his fellow homophobic anti-gay bretheren seem to forget, is that the judiciary was set up to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. For three years now, my husband and I have been married [same sex marriage in Massachusettes] and this has not had any effect on hetero-marriage. Rather, Mr. Romney, its hetero-divorce that is ruining heter-marriages. You and your cohorts are nothing but a bunch of bigotted goughns!

    August 31, 2007 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    The Mittster's campaign is a boorish collage of cliches calculated to reach social bigots!

    August 31, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. Pat, Huntington Station, NY

    "Why should the gay population (5% of the entire population) be controlling the laws governing the other 95% of the populace?"

    Hmmm, maybe we should have thought about that when the civil rights act was enacted, and when the courts struck down laws banning inter-racial marriages. After all, the vast majority of people were against granting equal rights to blacks, and allowing inter-racial marriages. And, what will happen if all of a sudden the vast majority of people decided that red-heads should not be allowed to vote? Should we uphold laws banning red-heads from voting? Also, how does 5% of the people controll the law for 95% of the people in regard to same sex marriage when those 95% will not be entering into same sex marriages? In fact, 95% of the people will not be affected by any law recognizing same sex marriage. Its the hatred of people like that commentator that needs to be fixed. Again, its the tyrianny of the majority the judiciary will protect the minority from.

    August 31, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. April, Atlanta GA

    Lest we forget, "Slavery" and "Jim Crow Laws" were also once the "will of the people" AND it took activists, both in and out of the courtrooms to right those uncivil wrongs. Makes you wonder where Romney would have stood regarding those "wills of the people."

    August 31, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  22. Ron, TX

    Who are we to judge others? Gay people aren't telling straight people they can't get married. Why do certain straight people get to control gay people? It's just absurd. History will look back on these bans as an atrocious injustice to civil rights.

    August 31, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. Gary, Boston USA

    The magical golden disks of prophecy told Romney that gay marriage is not covered by the US constitution. Meanwhile, actual constitutional scholars (not partisan so-called 'think tank' propagandists) would state otherwise.

    August 31, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. Ellen - Annapolis, Maryland

    Not one single Law Abiding, Tax Paying American Citizen deserves to be discriminated against. Regardless of what percentage you represent.

    "Why should the gay population (5% of the entire population) be controlling the laws governing the other 95% of the populace? Posted By James, New Haven : August 30, 2007 10:15 pm"

    A persons, religon, color, nor sexual orientation is permission to treat ANY person less that the American Citizen that they are. If you do not believe in same-sex marriage, then do not marry someone of the same sex.

    August 31, 2007 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  25. Dee, Nashville TN

    Funny how the "will of the people" did not override major court decisions in the South when it came to overturning Jim Crow laws. The judges took a proper stand to eliminate governmental prejudice. I see no difference in allowing for marriage or civil unions between any two adults and anything less remains governmental prejudice.

    August 31, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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