Just when Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney comes under fire fom his likely opponents in the Republican Primary a number of conservatives in his home state, labeling themselves Evangelicals for Mitt have responded with a letter outling what they see as his conservative credentials.
We have obtained this letter and have posted it below:
January 11, 2007
Dear conservative friends:
We hail from a broad spectrum of organizations dedicated to fighting for the pro-family agenda in Massachusetts. As you know, Mitt Romney became the governor of our state in 2003. Since that time, we have worked closely with him and his excellent staff on that agenda.
Some press accounts and bloggers have described Governor Romney in terms we neither have observed nor can we accept. To the contrary, we, who have been fighting here for the values you also hold, are indebted to him and his responsive staff in demonstrating solid social conservative credentials by undertaking the following actions here in Massachusetts:
• Staunchly defended traditional marriage. Governor Romney immediately and strongly condemned the 2003 court decision that legalized “same-sex marriage” in our state. More importantly, he followed up on that denunciation with action – action that saved our nation from a constitutional crisis over the definition of marriage. He and his staff identified and enforced a little-known 1913 law that allowed them to order local clerks not to issue marriage licenses to out-of-state couples. Absent this action, homosexual couples would surely have flooded into Massachusetts from other states to get “married” and then demanded that their home states recognize the “marriages,” putting the nation only one court decision away from nationalizing “same-sex marriage.”
• Worked hard to overturn “same-sex marriage” in the Commonwealth with considerable progress to date. In 2004 he lobbied hard, before a very hostile legislature, for a constitutional amendment protecting marriage – an amendment later changed by the legislature to include civil unions, which the Governor and many marriage amendment supporters opposed. Working with the Governor, we were successful in defeating this amendment.
• Provided active support for a successful citizen petition drive in 2005 to advance a clean constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
• Rallied thousands of citizens to focus public and media attention on the failure of legislators, through repeated delays, to perform their constitutional obligation and vote on the marriage amendment.
• Filed suit before the Supreme Judicial Court. The Governor’s suit asked the court to clarify the legislators’ duty to vote and failing that, to place the amendment on the 2008 ballot. That lawsuit, perhaps more than any other single action, was by all accounts instrumental in bringing pressure on the legislators to vote. The vote ultimately was taken on January 2, 2007 and won legislative support – clearing a major hurdle in the three year effort to restore traditional marriage in the Commonwealth.
• Fought for abstinence education. In 2006, under Governor Romney’s leadership, Massachusetts’ public schools began to offer a classroom program on abstinence from the faith-based Boston group Healthy Futures to middle school students. Promoting the program, Governor Romney stated, “I’ve never had anyone complain to me that their kids are not learning enough about sex in school. However, a number of people have asked me why it is that we do not speak more about abstinence as a safe and preventative health practice.”
• Affirmed the culture of life. Governor Romney has vetoed bills to provide access to the so called “morning-after pill,” which is an abortifacient, as well as a bill providing for expansive, embryo-destroying stem cell research. He vetoed the latter bill in 2005 because he could not “in good conscience allow this bill to become law.”
• Stood for religious freedom. Last year, Governor Romney was stalwart in defense of the right of Catholic Charities of Boston to refuse to allow homosexual couples to adopt children in its care. Catholic Charities was loudly accused of “discrimination” but Governor Romney correctly pointed out that it is unjust to force a religious agency to violate the tenets of its faith in order to placate a special-interest group.
• Filed “An Act Protecting Religious Freedom” in the Massachusetts legislature to save Catholic Charities of Boston and other religious groups from being forced to violate their moral principles or stop doing important charitable work.
All of this may explain why John J. Miller, the national political reporter of National Review, has written that “a good case can be made that Romney has fought harder for social conservatives than any other governor in America, and it is difficult to imagine his doing so in a more daunting political environment.”
We are aware of the 1994 comments of Senate candidate Romney, which have been the subject of much recent discussion. While they are, taken by themselves, obviously worrisome to social conservatives including ourselves, they do not dovetail with the actions of Governor Romney from 2003 until now – and those actions have positively and demonstrably impacted the social climate of Massachusetts.
Since well before 2003, we have been laboring in the trenches of Massachusetts, fighting for the family values you and we share. It is difficult work indeed – not for the faint of heart. In this challenging environment, Governor Romney has proven that he shares our values, as well as our determination to protect them.
For four years, Governor Romney has been right there beside us, providing leadership on key issues – whether it was politically expedient to do so or not. He has stood on principle, and we have benefited greatly from having him with us.
It is clear that Governor Romney has learned much since 1994 – to the benefit of our movement and our Commonwealth. In fact, the entire nation has benefited from his socially conservative, pro-family actions in office. As we explained earlier, his leadership on the marriage issue helped prevent our nation from being plunged into even worse legal turmoil following the court decision that forced “gay marriage” upon our Commonwealth.
For that our country ought to be thankful. We certainly are
Morality in Media Massachusetts
Massachusetts State Council, Knights of Columbus
Professor Mary Ann Glendon
Harvard Law School
Massachusetts Family Institute
Dr. Roberto Miranda
COPAHNI Fellowship of Hispanic Pastors of New England
Institute for Family Development
Massachusetts Citizens for Life
Thomas A. Shields
Coalition for Family and Marriage