But additionally, Camenker says,
Romney’s decision to issue the special one-day marriage licenses is purely discretionary. Romney could have easily not issued any one-day licenses. Even if one assumes homosexual marriage was legal in Massachusetts, Romney was not mandated to issue any one-day licenses.
The statutory record confirms Camenker’s statement. As the Boston Globe article explains, the statute authorizing the governor to issue one-day marriage licenses simply ALLOWS the Governor to do so. He could have simply declared a moratorium on the issuance of one-day marriage licenses and not issued any licenses to anyone.
The actual statute authorizing a governor to issue one day licenses can be found here:
http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleIII/Chapter207/Section39 In brief, the statute clearly states the non-mandatory nature of this policy:
The governor may in his discretion designate a justice of the peace in each town and such further number, not exceeding one for every five thousand inhabitants of a city or town, as he considers expedient, to solemnize marriages, and may for a cause at any time revoke such designation …. In addition to the foregoing, the governor may designate any other person to solemnize a particular marriage on a particular date and in a particular city or town, and may for cause at any time revoke such designation.
Nevertheless, Governor Romney ignored the discretionary nature of this statute and without any public announcement, issued one-day marriage licenses to at least 189 same sex couples in 2005. As Camenker states,
It was as if he couldn’t wait to make history because there is little doubt Romney’s actions regarding the Goodridge decision and his efforts to issue one-day licenses to homosexuals advanced the cause of same-sex marriage in America. But now that he’s a candidate for president, he claims to be a defender of traditional marriage. This man does not have a consistent worldview and should not be elected President.
It is difficult to not come to the conclusion that Governor Romney’s unconstitutional actions did indeed advance same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and, by extension, throughout America. Indeed, gay attorneys are on record as declaring the success of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts as a turning point in their battle to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Moreover, Romney’s action also went against the tenants of his own Mormon faith, a religion that does not approve of same-sex marriage.
Thus, on two fronts, Governor Romney played a key role in dramatically advancing two of the most important policy goals of the left: same-sex marriage and government-controlled health care. However, during the course of his campaign, Romney has defended this record and has embarked on a multi-million dollar effort to convince GOP voters that he is a conservative on both fiscal and social issues.