TAMPA, Fla. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney officially accepted his party’s nomination for president Thursday evening while pledging to “honor the institution of marriage” if elected.
During his speech before the Republican National Convention, Romney alluded to marriage in a brief portion of his speech that apparently was intended as a broader signal of support to social conservatives.
“As president, I will protect the sanctity of life,” Romney said. “I will honor the institution of marriage, and I will guarantee America’s first liberty: the freedom of religion.”
As with references to marriage in speeches earlier in the week from GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, Romney didn’t explicitly say that his vision for marriage excluded same-sex couples. But Romney’s opposition to marriage equality is well known, including his support for a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage throughout the country.
Romney’s reference to marriage could also be a knock against President Obama, who has come out in favor of marriage equality, dropped defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in court and advanced an array of pro-LGBT policies while in office.
But for the most part, Romney’s speech consisted of narrating personal accounts of his family and business career, laying out a basic vision for where he wants to take the country and criticizing Obama for his decision-making over the past three-and-a-half years.
Romney articulated a five-step plan that he said would create 12 million new jobs — although he offered few details for each of these steps in his proposal.
The plan involved 1) making America energy independent by 2020 through expanding oil, coal and gas and renewable domestic energy production; 2) giving parents the option of school choice and every child a chance in the education system; 3) forging new trade agreements and punishing countries that cheat in trade; 4) cutting the deficit to put the country on track to a balanced budget; and 5) encouraging small business growth by reducing taxes and regulations as well as repealing health care reform.
Romney also called out to voters who supported Obama in the 2008 election but had become disaffected with his presidency because of the stagnant economy, saying, “I wish President Obama had succeeded because I want America to succeed. But his promises gave way to disappointment and division.”
“Tonight I’d ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn’t you feel that way now that he’s President Obama?” Romney said. “You know there’s something wrong with the kind of job he’s done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him.”
In an apparent attempt to reach out to women voters, Romney noted that women are now more likely to start their own businesses and devoted a significant portion of his speech to talking about the important role his wife Ann Romney played in raising their family as well as the bid of his mother, Lenore Romney, to become a U.S. senator in 1970.