An Early Massachusetts Primary

Dwight Duncan, one of the Brownback endorsers, told NRO last week that the contention that Romney is to blame for the state of marriage in Massachusetts is really "over the top." According to Duncan, a professor at the Southern New England School of Law, "On the whole, [Romney] has been consistent in defending marriage as traditionally understood. Furthermore, his use of the bully pulpit and the courts has been unquestionably instrumental in getting the legislature to finally fulfill its constitutional duty and vote on the citizen-initiated constitutional amendment regarding marriage. …"

Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, agrees: "When people ask how we can support such a switch, I ask if they ever question Teddy Kennedy's or John Kerry's switches from pro-life to pro-choice."

Mineau is among those Massachusetts social conservatives who are grateful to have had Romney in the statehouse…." According to Mineau, "For the four years of his administration, Governor Romney provided strong leadership on key conservative social issues — whether it was politically expedient to do so or not." He tells National Review Online, "I believe Mitt Romney has done an excellent job in defending traditional family values in Massachusetts despite an extremely hostile legislature and judiciary, not to mention an attorney general and secretary of state who both opposed everything the governor stood for."

It's a view echoed by Marie Sturgis, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, who says, "Having Governor Romney in the corner office for the last four years has been one of the strongest assets the pro-life movement has had in Massachusetts. His actions concerning life issues have been consistent and he has been helpful down the line for us in the Bay State."

Mineau adds, "From the onset of the infamous Goodridge court decision in 2003, Governor Romney has opposed same-sex marriage and, I believe, correctly sought to overturn it through a constitutional amendment. …"

Mineau directly credits Romney with getting the state legislature to vote on a constitutional amendment on gay marriage earlier this month. He explains, "The court unanimously ruled on December 27 that the legislature was constitutionally obligated to vote. This ruling, coupled with the governor threatening to not sign the end-of-year legislative pay raise, resulted in the legislature passing the amendment on January 2nd, the last day of the session. This could never have happened without Governor Romney's leadership."

Mineau is among the signatories of a letter expected to be released on Thursday by a coalition of "organizations dedicated to fighting for the pro-family agenda in Massachusetts." … Among those signing the letter are Harvard University law professor Mary Ann Glendon (who also serves as the president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in Rome).

An accompanying brief by constitutional lawyer David French, a founder of the group Evangelicals for Mitt (French also writes for NRO's "Phi Beta Cons" blog), is a longer defense of the governor's social-conservative cred. In the beginning of a six-page document French asserts: "In the midst of Governor Romney's efforts to rescue his state from a fiscal crisis and create lasting and innovative health care solutions, activist judges and a far-left legislature forced issues of same-sex 'marriage,' abortion, religious liberty, stem cell research, and gay rights into the forefront. Each time he was challenged, the Governor not only made the conservative choice, but also did so with an optimistic, unifying message. In doing so, he became a national leader on these vital cultural issues without squandering his ability to govern the Commonwealth." …

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