The Huffington Post Luke Johnson First Posted: 05/09/12 02:34 PM ET Updated: 05/10/12 12:31 PM ET
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he is opposed to civil unions and gay marriage on the same day that President Barack Obama became the first president to support same-sex marriage.
"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," the former Massachusetts governor told Denver Fox affiliate KDVR-TV. "My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not."
Obama's support came following Tuesday's passage of a North Carolina constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships, and also Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan signaling support for gay marriage earlier this week.
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," Obama told ABC's Robin Roberts Wednesday.
Romney supports a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, according to the National Organization for Marriage pledge he signed. (Though, as president, he wouldn't play any formal role in a constitutional amendment.)
He also pledged to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, in contrast to the Obama administration, which has stopped defending DOMA because it thinks the 1996 law banning federal recognition of gay marriage is unconstitutional.
But Romney told the Log Cabin Republicans in 1994, while running against Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.): "As a result of our discussions and other interactions with gay and lesbian voters across the state, I am more convinced than ever before that as we seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent."
After the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that gays had the right to marry in 2003, Romney initially said he would follow the ruling while seeking a constitutional amendment to overturn it, but he ultimately used a variety of tactics to try to block the ruling.
This is a developing story and has been updated.