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. James, Phoenix AZ

    "How can you possibly allow straight people to vote on the rights of a gay person and call it fair? Would you allow only men to vote on abortion? Would you allow only skinheads to vote on slavery?"

    This statement doesn't make any sense, Rodney. How have gay people lost their right to vote?

    Based on your approach only felons can serve on juries, only parents can vote on childrens issues, only minorities can for on affirmative action policies, only immigrants can vote on immigration reform?

    By the way... it was a court of MEN that ruled in favor of Roe V Wade! It was a WHITE REPUBLICAN that lead a nation to abolish slavery (Lincoln).

    August 31, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Rick, Chicago Illinois


    What I am saying is the current laws apply equally to all people (marriage = 1 man + 1 woman). Black, white, gay, straight, two legged, handicapped – the same LAW.

    Perhaps the military (government) should STOP refusing admission of handicapped people into basic training? Or perhaps blind people should be allowed to become military pilots? How about immigrants allowed to become President of the US? How about polygomy be legally allowed too – we can't discriminate against the adult consent of 3+ people can we?

    August 31, 2007 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. proud2bliberal

    You can show Mitt with all of the best camera angles and make up but it still can't hide the ugliness he has inside. Shame on anyone who calls themselves a 'Christian' and would try to deliberately hurt an entire group of people by taking their rights away. If Jesus were walking the earth today he would not shun people for wanting to express thier love for another human being. Love is the most important thing in a marriage and until us heterosexuals perfect marriage, I don't see how we are in a position to judge others.

    August 31, 2007 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Skel, San Francisco, CA

    Perhaps Mitt Romney’s strange belief that not all people are equal and should not have equal rights is due to the fact that he a Mormon. Mormons have many strange beliefs which color the way they view the world around them. Here are just a few of interest from…

     God was once a man like us.

     God has a tangible body of flesh and bone.

     God lives on a planet near the star Kolob.

     God ("Heavenly Father") has at least one wife, our "Mother in Heaven," but she is so holy that we are not to discuss her nor pray to her.

     We can become like God and rule over our own universe.

     There are many gods, ruling over their own worlds.

     Jesus and Satan ("Lucifer") are brothers, and they are our brothers – we are all spirit children of Heavenly Father.

     Jesus Christ was conceived by God the Father by having sex with Mary, who was temporarily his wife.

     We should not pray to Jesus, nor try to feel a personal relationship with him.

     The "Lord" ("Jehovah") in the Old Testament is the being named Jesus in the New Testament, but different from "God the Father" ("Elohim").

     In the highest degree of the celestial kingdom some men will have more than one wife.

     Before coming to this earth we lived as spirits in a "pre-existence", during which we were tested; our position in this life (whether born to Mormons or savages, or in America or Africa) is our reward or punishment for our obedience in that life.

     Dark skin is a curse from God, the result of our sin, or the sin of our ancestors. If sufficiently righteous, a dark-skinned person will become light-skinned.

     The Garden of Eden was in Missouri. All humanity before the Great Flood lived in the western hemisphere. The Ark transported Noah and the other survivors to the eastern hemisphere.

     Not only will human beings be resurrected to eternal life, but also all animals – everything that has ever lived on earth – will be resurrected and dwell in heaven.

     Christ will not return to earth in any year that has seen a rainbow.

     Mormons should avoid traveling on water, since Satan rules the waters.

     The sun receives its light from the star Kolob.

     If a Gentile becomes Mormon, the Holy Ghost actually purges his Gentile blood and replaces it with Israelite blood.

    August 31, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Posted By David, Salinas, CA: "What you’re saying is that gay Americans can have equal protection as long as they stop being gay. Interesting logic. Perhaps women can get equal pay if they become men. Maybe blacks can end discrimination by turning white. Then, when the whole world is made up of straight white males, we’ll all be equal at last."

    I cannot say what Rick meant in his post. I can saw what I understood Rick's to mean to me. Gay Americans have exactly the same rights that heterosexual Americans have, to get married to a person of the opposite sex. Gay Americans have never been denied this right.

    What Gay Americans want, and what the court system has acknowledged even though the finding has been stayed, is a new right. That new right is to get married to a person of the same sex. Heterosexuals did not have the right to marry someone of the same sex. Neither did gay people.

    Being allowed to marry someone of the same sex is a new right, one acknowledged by the courts. I personally have no problem with the court's finding. I do have a problem with gay people that constantly cry their rights are being denied. They are not and never have been. What gay people are asking for is something new, the right to marry a person of the same sex. No one has ever had that type of right. It's completely new.

    August 31, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Romney was against gay marriage when he was Governor of Massachusets, a group of liberal activists judges from this great progressive state, took it upon themselves to redefine marriage, a petition with all the required signatures was obtained and before it could get to ballot it had to be approved by two consecutive sessions over two years.

    It passed the first hurdle under Romney and then Deval Patrick (a Clinton crony) OPENLY twisted arms and bought off legislatures to magically change their votes. Petition refused.

    The head of the group for gay marriage is on record as saying "The price that these legislatures are asking, keeps going up". On record.

    Now I have 3 points to make and you can hammer me or not but:

    I am tired of hearing that it is just right-wing, bible thumping, zealots that oppose same sex marriage.

    That is BS, 45 or so other states ban same sex marriage when the people were allowed to vote, all red states, only Republican residents? Don't think so.

    The votes were not even CLOSE, unlike the supposed electorate that is about 50-50.

    Secondly, most of your beloved Democratic candidates OPPOSE this as well, are they haters and bigots as well or does that only apply to Republicans?

    Lastly, I am in the majority of most Americans that oppose same sex marriage, but would fight for civil unions with all attached rights involved, ALL.

    This is about rights isn't it?

    I am no bible thumper (whatever), but I do believe that marriage is simply the domain of ONE man and ONE woman.

    August 31, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. vish

    The problem is the financial rights associated with being married. Such as when one dependent dies the other gets the rights to their property unless stipulated elsewhere such as a legal will. This and many other financial regulations with being married are the reasons the "rights" thing is comming up.

    August 31, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  8. Carl, Dallas, Texas

    Big difference between marriage and unions people.

    The fact that we can't seem to differentiate between the two is most disturbing about our country.

    I'm ok with saying marriage is between a man and a woman based on whatever religion you believe in, but there are certain economic benefits from being "married" under law. A judge can easily give out a civil union between ANYONE, whether it is FF, MM, or MF, and these couples should get the same economic benefits as married couples.

    Now if religious officials want to "Marry" same sex relationships, that is their decision...

    But as a nation of diverse people... a civil union has NO effect on anyone of you people criticizing it...

    August 31, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Carl, Dallas, Texas

    This has nothing to do with destroying religion or morals or whatever it is you think you understand, but are too inept and naive to think...

    This has everything to do with equal rights and protections under law... first ammendment right.. a union is not a marriage, but you get government benefits... real simple folks... does it effect you in any way... NO... if you feel that homosexuals are going to burn in hell anyway... GREAT... but dont' yell about it.. that's your opinion...

    This is why religion should have nothing to do with politics... it wouldn't be an issue

    August 31, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. David, Salinas, CA

    Rick of Chicago, IL:
    David of Gilbert, AZ;

    Gay Americans are not asking for some new right. They’re asking for the same rights as you and I: the right to not face discrimination from employers, banks, landlords, insurance companies, hospitals, immigration officials, courts and the military. They don’t want to expand the idea of marriage, they want exactly what we’ve got: the right to marry their partners in life, the people they love, in accordance with the sexuality they possess. How would you feel if that right was denied to you?

    Personally, I think government should get out of the marriage business altogether. Everyone should get the exact same form of government-sanctioned civil union regardless of gender or sexual orientation. If you consider marriage a sacred rite and your church chooses to be small-minded and homophobic, that’s your right as an American under the first amendment. But if our government is going to sanction any marriages, they ought to sanction all marriages, not just yours.

    They anti-gay arguments from biological or constitutional positions have never made any sense. Why not be honest and argue from your religious convictions or your irrational fears rather than spouting absurdities about gays having equal rights to heterosexual marriage? Honestly, I thought you republicans were for less government. What business is it of yours what consenting adults do in private, or who someone else marries?

    August 31, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    "What business is it of yours what consenting adults do in private, or who someone else marries?"

    Hi David (Salinas),

    Interesting that when a person or Church does not agree with the gay agenda the labels of "small-minded" and "homophobic" are thrown about. As if a reasonable, well-considered opinion CAN NOT exist contrary to the gay agenda without some bigotry or prejudice.

    Can a male college student try out for the Girls' softball team? NO? It must be SEXISM considering there aren't intercollegiate boy's softball team. Right?

    And what about those pesky "minority only" contracts awarded by the government? Can a business owned by a single white male apply for those contracts?? Why isn't THAT unconstitutional??

    The reality is society has for thousands of years held that marriage is between that of a man and a woman. I support this traditional view and don't see a compelling reason to begin changing it because a few individuals cry about not fitting in.

    If your arguement is purely legal – great ... offer the same benefits of inheritence, tax rates, medical access that is provided to traditionally married couples. But I do not support changing the definition of marriage simply because of sexual orientation.

    By the way, David, are you also a big supporter of polygamy?

    August 31, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  12. Brad, Columbia, SC

    Eveytime we ask the same-sex-marriage opponents to explain how this would affect them personally, there is nothing but silence.

    Now why is that?

    Why is it all we get are some muddled legal arguments or something about following the will of the people (which in this instance is the same as saying "gay marriage is wrong because myself and people who agree with me say it's wrong"... herein lies the difference between an explanation and a justification).

    But really, the very first question should be: "How does this affect you personally?" I myself find it rather telling that no one's able to answer this. The fact is, there is no answer to this question, and everyone knows it.

    August 31, 2007 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  13. David, Gilbert Arizona


    I have no issue regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation. I understand there are no federal laws banning the discrimination of people based on orientation. Is this right? No. It is a struggle that many groups have dealt with. Some groups have overcome the discrimination. Some groups are still fighting the good fight. I'm sure one day an "activist judge" will find that discrimination based on orientation is illegal, setting legal precedent.

    The distinction is that those laws of discrimination apply to the individual. I don't care what orientation my boss, my secretary, my financial advisor, my neighbor, or my politician has. All I care is that they abide by the law and do their job. Their right to not be discriminated against is an individual right which should be recognized by legal precedent.

    Individual right against discrimination and the right to marry is very different. As it is right now a man has the right to marry a woman. That is a universal right that applies to everyone, gay, straight, and androgenous. Until recently NO ONE had the right to marry someone of the same sex, whether they are gay, straight, or androgenous. This is why I say the right to marry someone of the same sex is a new right.

    The overriding argument is one of "I should be able to marry the person I love." Okay, I have no issue with that in principle. The argument isn't that simple, however. Two adults suffering from downs syndrome fall in love. Should they be allowed to marry? What rights should they have? Who is the legal guardian in the event they have children? This is why government makes laws restricting marriage.

    Not all marriage laws are good. In the case of Loving v. Virginia (1967) an "activist judge" found Virginia state law banning interracial marriage violated the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause when Virginia incarcerated Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man. Virginia ordered the couple to leave the state. The court, against the "will of the people" found Virginia's actions violated the Constitutional rights of the couple in question.

    This is why we have a Judicial branch of government. Government does have a place in marriage and rightfully so if you ask me. It is up to the Judicial branch to untangle the legal and constitutional aspects of the law. It won't be an easy struggle and it shouldn't be. When the day comes that marriage is defined as One person and One person you can bet real money that a group will come along wanting the right to marry more than One and One. Are gay marriages okay and plural marriages not?

    There's a big can of worms just waiting to be opened. This is why the Judicial branch is so reluctant to take up the issue.

    August 31, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. David, Salinas, CA

    Rick –

    You quoted my question, but you didn’t answer it.

    August 31, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  15. Karen, Orlando, Fl.

    To Rick from Chicago
    It's interesting that you say you are not interested in changing marriage and that you support it's traditional view. If we go back to the 'fundamentals' of traditional marriage we can see that it has changed quite a bit over the past two thousand years (it has actually been around longer than that but let's just take it from here).
    The 'fundamentals' of marriage is that it was not voluntary (at least from the female perspective) it was primarily done for distribution of labor and for economic reasons, love, was rarely, if ever a factor. Women had no marrital rights and could not even legally divorce their husbands even if they were being abused.
    As society changed, so did marriage. In Western cultures marriages are voluntary and woman have equal rights in their marriages (as we gained other rights as well). When I hear people say that they want to defend the fundamentals of marriage do they really know what they are defending??? Gay people aren 't trying to change the fundamentals of marriage we(heterosexuals) have already done that.
    Now let me give you something to think about; if you have children and one of them turned out to be gay and they came to you and said "Dad, I just want the same things that you do. I want to find somebody that loves me and makes me happy. I want to be able to share my life with that person and I want to be a parent someday too because I think I would be a pretty good one sincle I had such a great role"
    Would you be able to look your child in the eye and tell them that they don't deserve any of these things because they are different than you?

    August 31, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  16. Dan, Sammamish, WA

    I agree that for legal, financial and other purposes a civil union or agreement between two individuals is everyone's right. However,that is much different than marriage. The purpose of marriage traditionally has been about family, about children. In all of the comments I yet to hear why marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman. Every child deserves to be raised by a father and mother. Yes, you can find many examples of disfunctional, divorced families but that does not change the facts that a traditional family functions best when there is a loving father and a mother. Are we prepared as a society to enter into an experiment to find out what happens when many children are raised by same-sex parents. Of course the gay community will point to the sad examples of traditional families that certainly do not provide a good environment and how can we judge them. This is not about gay rights. It is about children's rights.

    September 1, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. David, Salinas, CA

    To: Dan of Sammamish, WA :

    While it is true that children with two parents prosper far better than those from single-parent families, there is no evidence that the gender of those two parents makes any difference at all.
    Numerous studies have shown that socially, intellectually and economically, children with gay parents do just as well as those with straight parents. (And no, they aren’t more likely to grow up gay). Gay marriage will strengthen our society, decrease promiscuity, and increase family values. Hopefully we can also do something as a society for the single parents struggling to raise their children on their own. Every child deserves a family. But not every family is the same. It is indeed about the children.

    And to Claude of Mesa AZ who writes:

    “It's Sodom and Gomorrah all over again. Time is obviously growing nigh and God will destroy this and other wickedness.”

    You might want to read the rest of your Bible, Claude. There’s a new section in the back of the book that has some interesting things to say about casting stones. WWJD?

    September 1, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Daryl, Houston, Texas

    To David: I think you misinterpret the Bible. Christ never supported homosexuality and evidently destroyed Sodom for it. Claude cast no stones, but clarifyed that God punishes the wicked, as is shown in the Bible.

    September 1, 2007 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. Dave, Rio Rancho, New Mexico

    I supose it's stupid to point out that the country is ruled by the constitution when the current group of them seem so bent on destroying it. Well just a thought... well I hear a funny sound on the phone lately so got to go now. I didn't say a thing.

    September 2, 2007 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  20. David, Salinas, CA


    Jesus said nothing about homosexuality and he had nothing to do with the destruction of Sodom, which occurred in the time of Genesis, thousands of years before his birth. Jesus preached a gospel of tolerance and forgiveness, qualities sorely lacking in today’s Christian right wing.

    September 2, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. curlysue, Orem UT

    I don't see how Romney is being unconstitutional. The constitution is a document that makes reference to God. How is God for same-sex marraige? The last time I checked, it was an abbomination in his sight. I applaud Romney for saying it like it is and standing up for his God and my God! ROMNEY FOR PRESIDENT!!!!!!!

    September 2, 2007 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  22. David, Salinas, CA

    To curlysue of Orem UT:

    The word “God” does not appear in the U.S. Constitution.

    The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    Some churches oppose gay marriages. Other churches perform them. Our government has no business favoring one view over the other.

    September 3, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. JB,Branson,MO

    If you lay all tradition and morals aside for the sake of equall rights for people of the same sex to be recognized as married, what if three men who live together and care for each other want to be recognized as married? What dictates what should be a fair new law? In my view the laws of democratic society are based upon the morals of the people governed by those laws. Everyone must look inside them for the answer of what is right and what is wrong. For me, I believe marriage should be defined as one man and one woman. If homosexual couples desire recognition of there togetherness I believe it should called by a different name other than marriage, for heterosexual married couples should have the right to protect the name of there union.

    September 3, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  24. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    David from Salinas
    "Jesus said nothing about homosexuality". He said nothing about a lot of things, but it doesn't condone it. If you believe in the Bible, God through apostles and prophets have condemned it.

    September 4, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  25. Nevin Limburg, West Valley City, Utah

    What the issue of same sex marriage issue comes down to is belief in God, our Heavenly Father, and that we are all His children on earth. He has proclaimed that marriage is sacred and between a man and a woman. That is it. Governments for hundreds, actually thousands of years have held sacred the same about marriage, that it is between a man and a woman. Our laws as a nation are based on beliefs and values, and made by men and women who hold those beliefs and values. That the people of Iowa and their elected representatives made laws supporting this time-worn belief and value in the sacredness of marriage is right, and it was the right thing to do to go on record to state it once again. Something such as this is either right or wrong, just like slavery was once in this country. It was proved wrong, led by Abraham Lincoln, and this principle is also wrong, that of marriage between same sex people. It is right to ban it, and lawful, and the court decided wrong because the law was appropriately made by the people.

    September 4, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
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