Nearly four dozen pro-family leaders and activists have made public their direct challenge to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is considering a run for the presidency in 2008, to document his opposition to homosexual marriages.

And they say he ignored them.

According to the organization, the leaders hand-delivered a letter to the former governor on Dec. 20, before he left office, documenting why they believe he voluntarily instituted directives that created homosexual “marriages” in that state, even though he did not have to.

They asked him to act in response, and they say he didn’t even acknowledge the letter.

Among those challenging Romney were Paul Weyrich, of the Free Congress Foundation; Sandy Rios, of Culture Campaign; Robert Knight, who drafted the federal Defense of Marriage Act; Linda Harvey, of Mission America; Rev. Ted Pike, of the National Prayer Network; Randy Thomasson, of Campaign for Children and Families; Peter LaBarbera, of Americans for Truth; David E. Smith, of the Illinois Family Institute; Joe Glover, of the Family Policy Network; Paul Cameron, of the Family Research Institute; John Haskins’ of the Parents’ Rights Coalition, and others.

The group’s letter cited state constitutional provisions and court rulings, showing that while the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered the creation of homosexual marriages, it did not have the authority to order the governor to institute them or the legislature to create them.

The letter had called on Romney to reverse his “erroneous directives which began homosexual ‘marriages’ through an executive order” but signers noted that Romney declined to act.

“Under the Massachusetts Constitution, only the Legislature may change the statutes,” the group said. “Of his own volition, Romney issued “constitutionally fraudulent ‘homosexual marriage’ licenses'” and with no authorizing legislation, he ordered marriage licenses to be changed from “husband” and “wife,” to “Party A” and “Party B.”

Cited as support in the letter is the legal and constitutional research posted by “Robert Paine” on his

“Mitt Romney is not the ‘Defender of Marriage and the Constitution he is posing as,” said Haskins. “There is no question that awareness of Romney’s abuse of power, in not even waiting for the legislature to change the law, is growing among conservative leaders and in the pro-family grass roots nationally.”

However, a website called has been working on support for Romney, noting he “has been attacked” and despite “the governor’s considerable record defending conservative values in Massachusetts – these attacks have caused some individuals to question the governor’s conservative credentials.”

The group had released a letter from six pro-life and pro-family leaders offering their support for Romney, whose political actions also were targeted in “The Mitt Romney Deception” report when that was published earlier by MassResistance.

Signed by Kris Mineau of the Massachusetts Family Institute, Mary Ann Glendon from Harvard Law School and others, the letter notes the groups have worked closely with him, and have seen him “demonstrating solid social conservative credentials” in the state.

The site also noted that no American governor “has faced more critical cultural issues than Mitt Romney.”

“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,” the group said.

The website has described criticisms of Romney as “old statements, half-truths, and come completely misreported stories.” The organization noted how Romney and his staff “vigorously enforced a little-known 1913 law that prevents out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriage would be illegal in their home state, keeping Massachusetts from becoming, as he called it, ‘the Las Vegas of ‘gay marriage.””

Haskins, however, said Romney eventually will be known as “the ‘Father of Homosexual Marriage.'”

“He cloaked his active, willing complicity by pleading impotence against an utterly toothless court ruling under a state constitution that explicitly denies any such power to judges,” he said.

The new letter from the family leaders urged the governor “to declare immediately that homosexual ‘marriage’ licenses issued in violation of the law are illegal and to issue an order to all state and local officials to cease violating the law.”

It cited the state constitutional provision that “All causes of marriage … shall be heard and determined by the governor and council, until the legislature shall, by law, make other provision.”

“In hearing the Goodridge case and issuing an opinion, four of the seven judges violated the Supreme Law of Massachusetts,” the letter said, “Massachusetts courts have admitted, on other occasions, they neither they nor legislators, nor the governor are authorized to violate the Constitution.”

“Your oath to uphold the Constitution requires treating an unconstitutional opinion as void (as President Thomas Jefferson did in Marbury v. Madison). You failed to do this. Nor did you treat it as an illegal ruling that affected only the specific plaintiffs (as Abraham Lincoln did, refusing to accept the Dred Scott ruling as law, pointing out that judges do not make law),” the letter said.

“Instead, you asserted that the court’s opinion was a ‘law’ and thus binding.”

The letter said the state constitution mandates that: “The judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.”

“In light of both your actions and your explanations, it comes as a great surprise to many of us to learn that, under the Massachusetts Constitution, judges cannot suspend or alter statutes,” the letter continued.

The letter said the Goodridge decision specifically said the court was not striking the marriage statute, so that those laws remain – even to today – and that that law does not permit same-sex couples to marry. That, the letter indicates, would leave all homosexual marriages recognized to date, as outside of the law.

Other pro-family organizations are working on another route, in endorsing a voter initiative signed by about 170,000 residents that would allow Massachusetts residents to vote on a definition of marriage. The proposed definition would not recognize same-sex couples, but also would not invalidate those “marriages” already performed.

The state legislature, under the threat of a federal civil rights lawsuit, voted earlier this month to allow that initiative to continue moving forward. In the state’s process to amend its constitution, that plan still needs an affirmative vote from the new legislature, and then an affirmative vote of a majority of the state’s residents in a general election, possibly as early as 2008.

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