Nearly two dozen family values activists have written to National Review, criticizing the publication for “puff” reporting of Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign that ignores his “constitutional bungling” of the court decision that led to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
The letter was dispatched by Sandy Rios of the Culture Campaign, Scott Lively of Defend the Family International, Linda Harvey of Mission America, William Greene of RightMarch.com, Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth, John Haskins of Parents’ Rights Coalition and others.
“If any conservative thinks Romney’s ‘management skills’ qualify him to run a nation in need of moral vision, clear worldview and the other higher virtues of leadership exhibited, for example, by Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan, they have a lot to learn about Romney’s history and the history of ‘management’ presidencies such as that of Jimmy Carter,” the letter said.
The publication responded that the criticism was nothing more than a public relations stunt.
“National Review Online has run pieces and blog posts criticizing and lauding Governor Romney on marriage and a whole host of other issues, as we have with others of the Republicans up for primary consideration next year. I’m confident that our readers regularly have access to a good array of fair and honest assessments and information on NRO – as they will continue to throughout the 2008 cycle,” Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online’s editor, told WND.
“Both marriage and the presidential election deserve more serious treatment than Mass Resistance’s public-relations stunt. That’s what we strive to do here at National Review Online and our mothership, National Review,” she said.
However, Haskins, who released a copy of the letter to WND, argued the letter had been sent to National Review more than a month earlier, “and despite repeated follow-up e-mails and telephone calls in June, no acknowledgement or response was received.”
The open letter thanks National Review “for consistently pointing out that Mitt Romney is basically a ‘manager’ or ‘CEO.’ That is precisely what worries informed conservatives about him.”
“‘Management expertise’ is NOT what America needs from a president, particularly in a time of moral and social crisis, sweeping cultural change and international turmoil. ‘Management’ is what a good professional staff is supposed to do. Leadership is something else entirely,” the letter said.
“Mitt Romney’s contribution to history is his – still largely untold – constitutional bungling of the homosexual ‘marriage’ issue while he was governor. Professor of jurisprudence Hadley Arkes was quite correct when he described on the pages of National Review how Romney managed the crisis as a weak-kneed political pragmatist. In fact, Romney ‘managed’ the crisis so well that his subversion of the world’s oldest functioning constitution remains unknown to most Americans,” the letter said.
Officials in the Romney campaign, and those who served with him in the Massachusetts governor’s office, have told WND he believed he had no choice but to direct clerks and others to change state marriage forms to eliminate the “husband” and “wife” or “bride” and “groom” references and to begin registering “marriages” of same-sex couples.
The Massachusetts State Supreme Judicial Court in the 2003 Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health decision cleared the way for same-sex marriage by ruling homosexual couples are legally entitled to wed under the state constitution and should be allowed to apply for marriage licenses. However, the 4-3 ruling stopped short of declaring homosexual couples should be granted the licenses and, instead, ordered the state legislature to come up with a solution within 180 days.
A spokesman said while Romney felt passionately the court was wrong, his options were limited. He said Romney explored “every legal avenue” and concluded the decision could only be resisted “at the price of constitutional government.”
“That basically was not an option,” the spokesman said.
The activists’ letter contended the facts of the matter “are not seriously disputed: Romney ignored emphatic legal advice from numerous authoritative sources that he was constitutionally obliged to ignore the Goodridge decision, which neither sought or anticipated any action whatever from the executive branch, unless the Legislature first acted to legalize homosexual marriage, which is the sole avenue to legalization that the state Constitution allows.”
The Massachusetts constitution states the “power of suspending the laws, or (suspending) the execution of the laws, ought never to be exercised but by the legislature,” but the state’s lawmakers still have not adopted a law that would legalize homosexual marriage.
Haskins noted attorney Phyllis Schlafly has concluded: “[Romney] said: ‘We obviously have to follow the law as provided by the [Court] and … decide ‘what kind of statute we can fashion which is consistent with the law.’ But what ‘law’? There is no law that requires or even allows same-sex marriages.”
The letter charges Romney “illegally suspended the marriage laws and subjected the people to a constitutionally void opinion by judges who were fully conscious they were powerless to get their fanatical social agenda enacted. He ordered public officials to ignore marriage statutes properly ratified by the legislative body and still constitutionally binding – statutes which the Goodridge ruling acknowledged prohibit homosexual ‘marriage.’”
Haskins noted Romney has claimed the court had changed the law, but that isn’t allowed in the Massachusetts constitution, which dictates: “[T]he people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent.”
“Indeed, Romney ‘managed’ the crisis and successfully presented himself as a ‘conservative’ hero to ‘conservatives’ and ‘constitutionalists’ who were in too much of a rush to examine the state constitution,” the letter said.
“Mitt Romney is unrecognizable as a conservative, a constitutionalist or as anything but a managerialist. Funny, isn’t it, how all the big issues just seem to go away if you manage them well enough? Surely, our memories tell us, there was a time, a long time, during which the National Review would never, could never have given the likes of Mitt Romney a helping hand toward the presidency,” the letter said.
In addition to Rios, Lively, Harvey, Greene, LaBarbara and Haskins, the following also added their signatures, either representing their organizations or as individuals:
Larry Cirignano, formerly of Catholic Vote, Gary Glenn of Campaign for Michigan Families, Michael S. Heath of Christian Civic League of Maine, Ted Pike of the National Prayer Network, C.J. Doyle of Catholic Action League (Massachusetts), Brian Camenker of MassResistance, Diane Gramley of American Family Association of Pennsylvania, Ray Neary of Pro-Life Massachusetts, William Cotter of Operation Rescue-Boston, John Russo of Marriage and Family, Carol McKinley of Faithful Voice, Mark Charalambous of the Fatherhood Coalition, Guy Adams of ValuesUSA, Roger Anghis of RestoreFreeSpeech.org, Linda Kimball of Patriots and Liberty and Nedd Kareiva of Stop the ACLU Coalition.
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