WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney reiterated his opposition marriage equality for same-sex couples again Saturday morning while delivering commencement remarks at Liberty University, an anti-gay school that bans openly LGBT students from attending.
Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, made his remarks at the private Christian university located in Lynchburg, Va., just days after President Barack Obama announced his historic support for marriage equality.
“The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self, and, at the foundation, the pre-eminence of the family.
“As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman. The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate.
“It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with. Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government.”
Among those honored at Liberty’s commencement this morning was S. Truett Cathy, founder of the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, which has made significant financial contributions to anti-LGBT organizations.
Romney made his remarks hours after Rick Santorum called on the GOP nominee to use marriage equality as a “potent weapon” in his campaign.
“This morning, Mitt Romney spoke out against marriage equality at a school that does not even allow openly LGBT students to enroll. It is unbelievable that in this day in age – when a majority of Americans support marriage equality and a majority of Americans explicitly approve of President Obama’s leadership on marriage equality – Mitt Romney instead is taking up the mantle of far-right anti-gay organizations who seek to demonize LGBT families,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese, in a statement.
“Mitt Romney continues to insist he’s against discrimination, but his remarks on marriage equality and the company he keeps paints a very clear and a very disturbing picture of the anti-LGBT forces that are driving Romney’s campaign,” Solmonese said.
Excerpts from Romney’s speech are here, courtesy of ABC News:
A USA Today/Gallup poll released Friday indicated that a majority of Americans – and an even stronger majority of independent voters – approve of the President’s position on marriage equality.