Mitt Romney: Flip, Flop, or Slip on ENDA?

By bpassmore Posted in Comments (22) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

A guest post by A. Harris,

See this post for some info on the ENDA:

Even though they are fierce rivals for the Republican nomination, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have been, for a long time, two of my top choices: Huckabee number one. Romney number two or three. I have some concern over Romney’s position changes on abortion, gun control, the Bush tax cuts, etc… But for the sake of all of you who have traveled that well-beaten path many times already, I don’t want to question Romney’s sincerity here. Huckabee’s positions have simply been stronger and more consistent in those areas, and that’s why he has my support.

All that said, yesterday I was confronted with a startling revelation about Mitt Romney’s current position on gay rights. It is one, to be honest, that greatly concerns me. Not the least because his own experience as governor means that he should know better.

What am I talking about? Well, I refer to Romney’s continued support for employment non-discrimination laws for sexual orientation — laws that would prohibit discrimination based on “actual or perceived” sexual orientation. This is serious, my friends.

When he was running for Senate in 1994, Romney voiced his support for the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (the strongly-opposed ENDA bill) in this interview:

Newspaper: Do you support the federal lesbian and gay civil rights bill that would ban anti-gay discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit?

Romney: This is Barney Frank's legislation?

Newspaper: This is not just employment, but also housing, public accommodations and credit.

Romney: I am not fully aware of that bill, so I would need to study that more fully. I am aware of the legislation that Barney Frank proposed [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act] and do support that and would vote in favor of that.

[Interview with Senate Candidate Mitt Romney, Bay Windows, 8/25/94]


However, in a December 14, 2007 interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review, Romney renounced his support for the federal act, providing many good reasons why:

Lopez: And what about the 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans where you indicated you would support the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and seemed open to changing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military? Are those your positions today?

Romney: No. I don’t see the need for new or special legislation. My experience over the past several years as governor has convinced me that ENDA would be an overly broad law that would open a litigation floodgate and unfairly penalize employers at the hands of activist judges.


Romney’s characterization of those laws — which as he says, he saw up-close in Massachusetts — is entirely accurate.

Similar laws on the books in 17 states are not only a threat to employers, but to religious freedom: effectively forcing businessmen, pastors, and/or leaders of religious organizations to hire persons engaged in lifestyles they believe are sinful.

It was these same non-discrimination laws that laid the groundwork for legalizing gay marriage in Massachusetts — and also forced Boston’s Catholic Charities to shut down its century-old adoption agency because it refused to place children in gay households against the teachings of the Catholic faith. There are many other examples.

So what is my concern about Romney? Well, whether you call it a flip, a flop, or a slip, just two days later on NBC’s Meet the Press, Governor “Should-Know-Better” Romney said that he does support non-discrimination laws for sexual orientation on the state level.

Here’s the transcript from MSNBC:

Russert: You said [in 1994] that you would sponsor [Sen. Ted Kennedy’s federal] Employment Nondiscrimination Act. Do you still support it?

Romney: At the state level. I think it makes sense at the state level for states to put in provision of this.

Russert: Now, you said you would sponsor it at the federal level.

Romney: I would not support at the federal level, and I changed in that regard because I think that policy makes more sense to be evaluated or to be implemented at the state level.

In case you missed it: Russert asked Romney if he still supported ENDA. Romney replied that he did support them at the state level. He said that implementing such laws “makes sense.”

Mitt, how could you? You’ve shown that you understand the problem conservatives have with these laws. You said that your own experience in Massachusetts showed you that those laws at the state level are bad news. Two days later you express your support.

I’m sorry, but if that is what Romney said – and the transcript and the video (see 2:34) show that it is – I cannot see how conservatives can trust him to be strong in standing against the homosexual agenda, I just can’t. I’ve been part of this battle in my own state, and this is serious.

If you are a Romney supporter, I ask you to not simply brush this off or just attack me for supporting Huckabee. I know our guys are in a fierce fight in Iowa, but like so many of us have said, this race is about the issues. Coming from a guy who wants to support the Republican nominee and who wants to like Romney, I’m asking you to take an honest look at what I’ve shared. This is something voters have to consider.

Just when I though that Mitt was out of flip-flops, here comes another. This could really shake his pro-family base. I wonder if they are aware of this? I bet he hopes that this and sites like stays under least until after Iowa and NH.

I can see this really hurting Romney. I've got to think that even some of his big-time supporters would have to give pause at this... And if he changes positions again, that hurts about as much. Thanks for the post.

I had to say one more thing... How do we get this information out to people? It's a pretty big issue to me -- I'm not sure I can vote for someone who supports ENDA policies.

Old news, and tiresome. Tempted to take a out the long list of why Huckabee is bad, etc., etc. Why not get origianl.

He's a federalist on ENDA. He thinks states should decide. What's the issue again?
First State Politics

He was originally in support of a federal version of ENDA when he was running for Senate. He has since changed his position to a federalist stance. The OP is questioning--admittedly, from a much less federalist standpoint--why he would find that acceptable if his experience as governor convinced him that ENDA was a bad idea.

Mind you, I have no problem with Romney's current position, and I would still vote for a Republican who had his old one. But it seems there was a flip.

No one of good character leaves behind a wasted life - John McCain

He supports it at the state level. He opposes it at the Federal level. Why am I not surprised Hucksters can't comprehend the difference?

PS: He's running for President, it won't have anything to do with him.

Man will I be happy when this train wreck called Mike Huckabee is crashing back toward Arkansas FOR GOOD!

And to think of all of the people who were pimping this guy for the Senate!?! While there is now no doubt that Mike would fit in well with Harry Reid and some of the RINO's in DC; boy would it hurt our cause to send this guy to represent Republicans. Boy, what a nightmare this guy turned into. God does work in mysterious ways huh Hucksters? Thank goodness that he is losing big ground in Iowa!

Well at least he'll be done playing a candidate for POTUS just in time to audition for Simon, Randy and Paula. What a clown.

Wouldnt surprise me one bit if it is Huckabee grabs Benny Hinn as a VP candidate and trys to sabotages the election aka Ross Perot out of pure foolish pride.

he will say anything for a few votes. No backbone, no convictions, just look at what the polls tell you to say...

They are one in the same.

But he has a federalist mindset about it.

That's part of the reason that I'm very proud to lend Mitt Romney my full support, and I couldn't be more proud to tell everyone that I'm a Republican if Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee.

The ENDA should be killed before it is passed at the federal or state level -

If you think this is merely a federalism thing, compare again the two comments of Romney WITHIN 2 DAYS of each other, pretending with a conservative audience to have one set of reasons to oppose a law based on his "STATE experience as a governor" that its a bad overbroad law (conservative principles of 'judicial activism', 'we don't want to unfairly penalize employers') and showing his true colors (?, more consistent with his past) for a national audience that its a good idea but just more appropriate at THE STATE level.

Too slick by half.

Shows he's slickly deceptive as hell, and furthermore he could in his heart give a damn about gay rights expansion affecting employers with convictions, religious or otherwise, on this issue.

If Iowans hear about this, Mike Huckabee would win by 30%. ENDA (state or federal) is anathema to social conservatives.

I know you are new here, but it is not good form to recommend your own posts. Please un-recommend, and then I will recommend.

I thought Bush was the only one to attract tin hat bots.
This is a tempest in a teaspoon, not even a teapot.
This isn't a flip, in fact, it is consistent with his equal rights for gays (except he was firm in his sanctity of marriage as one man, one woman) He's not flipping at all.
Its roughly the same as his abortion answers, leave it to the states.
I don't like either answers, but in reality, if Roe v. Wade is gone, its back to the states and I doubt New York or Oregon is going to put in restrictive abortion laws.

Get real and stop enticing people to post the Huckabee flips.

Or you're just a bunch of intolerant Mormon haters, which is what I suspect.

that was the most insanely idiotic thing I've ever heard. At no time in your incoherent rambling did anything make sense or was a rational thought. We are all dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

I love that movie.

No one of good character leaves behind a wasted life - John McCain

I loved that movie too. compliments of Billy Madison

Romney's posiiton towards gays has been one of his most consistant and appropriate. Do we really want empoyers askng perspective employees what their sexual orientation is? I think don't ask don't tell makes sense in all jobs. Overt sexuality, gay or straight, has no place in any workplace and can be grounds for dismissal. The threats of churches being forced by law to accept homosexuals is ridiculous. Adultery can obviously be grounds for dismissal in any church. If a priest is homosexual, but abstains from sex due to his faith, how is he any different than a straight priest who abstains from sex due to his faith.

On a side note, there was never any law passed in Mass that allowed or required gay marriage be recognized. It was a decision of the State Supreme Court based on their twisted interpretation of the Constitution.

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