"Mitt Romney is single-handedly responsible for instituting same-sex marriage in Massachusetts."
That's the view of Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes, who lobbied against the state's adoption of same-sex marriage when it was imminent in 2004.
"Most people are unaware of the way Massachusetts came to adopt same-sex marriage," the former Reagan administration diplomat said. "They think the state's Supreme Judicial Court forced it to happen. That's incorrect."
Said Keyes, "The court merely issued an opinion stating that, in its view, the existing marriage law was unconstitutional because it failed to allow persons of the same sex to marry. The court then gave the legislature 180 days to 'take such action as it may deem appropriate in light of this opinion' — implicitly telling lawmakers to come up with a new marriage statute."
According to Keyes, "the public record shows the legislature refused to do so. It balked at this attempt by the judiciary to usurp its legislative authority. When the 180-day deadline came and went, the legislature had not changed the marriage law."
Why then, Keyes asked, did Massachusetts become the first state to adopt same-sex marriage — if in fact the legislature never changed the law to reflect the decision of the court?
The answer, he said, is that "Mitt Romney pushed through same-sex marriage all by himself, in the absence of any authority or requirement to do so, having a complete misunderstanding of his role as governor and of the significance of the court's opinion."
"The court never ordered him to act, nor did he have the right to act, since the legislature never changed the law," said Keyes. "Romney claimed he had no other choice, but that's completely untrue."
"The appropriate course of action for Romney was to do nothing," Keyes commented, since the legislature gave him no new law to enforce. Instead, "as governor, he created, in essence, his own same-sex marriage rule and then enforced it — reportedly threatening local clerks with dismissal if they refused to comply with his executive order," Keyes noted.
To Keyes, the result was catastrophic. "This action by Mitt Romney is among the most socially-damaging actions by a chief executive in our nation's history. Because of its far-reaching implications for the future of the traditional family, it threatens to destroy our entire moral and cultural fabric more than any other executive action I can think of."
"The failure by Romney to 'say no' to corrupt activist judges in a critical controversy over 'separation of powers,' and his willingness to take unwarranted steps that exceeded his lawful authority, reveal the kind of chief executive he would be if elected president," Keyes believes.
Romney's mishandling of the matter, said Keyes — who holds a Ph.D. from Harvard in government and wrote his dissertation on constitutional theory — has been ignored by conservative leaders, as well as the national media. "Romney shouldn't get a free pass on so vital a public-policy issue."