Editor’s note: This is text of a speech delivered by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at a banquet for Massachusetts Citizens for Life on May 10, 2007.
Thank you Kay.
It is an honor to receive this award.
I recognize that it is awarded for where I am on life, not for where I have been.
I respect the fact that you arrived at this place of principle a long time ago.
And I appreciate the fact that you are inclined to honor someone who arrived here only a few years ago.
I am evidence that your work, that your relentless campaign to promote the sanctity of human life, bears fruit.
I follow a long line of converts — George Herbert Walker Bush, Henry Hyde, Ronald Reagan. Each of them has made meaningful contributions to this cause.
It is instructive to see the double standard at work here. When a pro-life figure changes to pro-choice, it hardly gets a mention. But when someone becomes pro-life, the pundits go into high dudgeon.
And so, I am humbled and grateful to be welcomed so warmly and openly tonight.
And as many of you know, you were always welcome in my office when I was Governor.
Together we worked arm in arm. And I can promise you this — that will be the case again when I am President.
I am often asked how I, as a conservative Republican, could have been elected in Massachusetts. I tell them that there were three things that helped account for my improbable victory.
First, the state was in a fiscal crisis. A meltdown, of sorts. Beacon Hill couldn’t get budgets done on time. Another big tax hike looked like it was on the way. I promised to balance the budget without raising taxes. And, as you know, together with the legislature, that’s what I did. We eliminated a $3 billion shortfall. And by the time I left, my surpluses had replenished the rainy-day fund to over $2 billion.
Second, we were in a jobs crisis. Massachusetts was losing jobs every month. People were afraid. I went to work to bring jobs back to our state. From the end of the recession, we added 60,000 new jobs. And, we finally got our economic development act together — it was in large measure responsible for the economic growth that we continue to experience even today.
And third, I think that values also played a role in my campaign success. My opponent said she would sign a bill for gay marriage. I said that I would oppose gay marriage and civil unions. My opponent favored bilingual education. I did not. I said that to be successful in America, our kids need to speak the language of America. And as you will surely recall, my opponent wanted to lower the age of consent for an abortion from 18 to 16 — and I did not.
And so, social conservatives, many of them Democrats and Independents, joined fiscal conservatives to elect a Republican.
That being said, I had no inkling that I would find myself in the center of the battlefield on virtually every social issue of our time.
The first battle came when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, by a one vote majority, found a right to same sex marriage in our constitution. I’m sure that John Adams would be surprised.
The Court said that traditional marriage as we have known it, “is rooted in persistent prejudices” and “works a deep and scarring hardship … for no rational reason.”
No rational reason? How about children? Isn’t marriage about the development and nurturing of children? And isn’t a child’s development enhanced by access to both genders, by having both a mother and a father?
I believe that the Court erred because it focused on adults and adult rights.
They should have focused on the rights of children. The ideal setting for the raising of a child is a home with a loving mother and father.