As pro-marriage voters prepare to participate in the presidential election, the Baptist Press has done an invaluable service by charting out the concrete actions Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have taken as well as what they have said about marriage.
Here, for instance, is what they found Mitt Romney's actions on marriage to be while Governor of Massachusetts:
-- November 2003: The same day that Massachusetts' highest court issued its first-in-the-nation decision that would legalize gay marriage, Romney endorses a proposed state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man, one woman.
-- March 2004: Announces his desire to ask the court to prevent its ruling from going into effect until after citizens can vote on a state constitutional marriage amendment. Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, though, declines to make such a request to the court. (The court had "stayed" its ruling for 180 days, meaning it did not take effect until May 2004.)
-- April 2004: Files an emergency bill with the state legislature that would give him the power to ask the state's high court to delay its ruling until after citizens can vote on a constitutional marriage amendment. (The bill fails.)
-- April 2004: Announces that because of an obscure 1913 law, out-of-state gay couples won't be able to marry when the court's ruling takes effect in May 2004. Romney's interpretation goes further than the interpretation of the attorney general, who had limited the application of the law to only the 38 states that had explicitly defined marriage in the traditional sense. Romney said couples from any state that doesn't recognize gay marriage are ineligible.
-- May 2004: Announces he will veto any bill that allows out-of-state couples to marry in Massachusetts.
-- June 2004: Appears before a U.S. Senate committee, urging passage of a federal constitutional marriage amendment defining marriage as between one man, one woman. Such an amendment would overturn the gay marriage ruling in his state.
-- November 2006: Speaks before 7,000 people at a rally in Boston supporting a state constitutional marriage amendment.
-- November 2006: Sues state legislators to try and force them to vote on a state marriage amendment. Citizens had gathered 170,000 signatures to place the amendment before the body, and the constitution requires a vote. (The court sided with Romney. The legislature subsequently passed the amendment in January 2007, although it failed to pass it again during the next session, as required. The state constitution requires the amendment to pass twice before being placed on the ballot.)
-- December 2006: Threatens to withhold a pay raise from state legislators if they fail to vote on a marriage amendment.