Aides to Mr. Romney... said that the governor’s opinions on gay issues had not changed. They said Mr. Romney had always been an opponent of same-sex marriage, had always opposed discrimination against gay men and lesbians and had been consistent in his views about allowing them to serve in the military....Abject repudiation is not what's needed. He should demonstrate how well he can finesse discord like this. Is he a skillful candidate? It's a good test for the man.
Mr. Fehrnstrom, echoing the language that Mr. Romney has frequently used on the campaign trail, said Mr. Romney had been "a champion of traditional marriage" and "fought the efforts of activist judges who seek to redefine marriage."
Nonetheless, the breadth of the letter’s language and the specificity of many of the pledges stunned conservative leaders. Many of them had turned to Mr. Romney as a conservative alternative to Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, whose position on issues like abortion had been considered suspect.
"This is quite disturbing," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who had praised Mr. Romney as a champion of traditional values at the group’s conference in late September....
Paul Weyrich, a founder of the modern conservative movement, said: "Unless he comes out with an abject repudiation of this, I think it makes him out to be a hypocrite. And if he totally repudiates this, you have to ask, on what grounds?"
December 9, 2006
Poor Mitt Romney, who tried to reassure the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts in 1994, during his unsuccessful run for the Senate, and now has the social conservatives irked, even as the gay rights groups are hostile to him for his opposition to gay marriage. And those who expect consistency need placating: