Mitt Romney likes it straight

Straight marriage, straight hair ... the socially conservative presidential candidate's preferences are clear.

Published April 3, 2007 6:49PM (EDT)

Here's a guy who's inspiring both ire and glee at Broadsheet H.Q. today: Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate (who's currently leading the GOP pack in fundraising, I note with some alarm) has never been one of our favorite people, what with his flip-flopping on abortion rights and emergency contraception and his push for an amendment to Massachusetts' Constitution defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. This week is no exception: Current Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has instructed state officials to record the marriages of 26 out-of-state same-sex couples in state records. And why weren't those couples' marriages part of state records already? Because Romney blocked them.

Not that there wasn't a rationale; Romney blocked the marriages because same-sex marriage isn't legal in the couples' home states, so their marriages wouldn't be valid back at home. Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Romney could use a 1913 law to prevent these couples from marrying. In a few towns, clerks defied Romney's edict, and out-of-state couples were married. Romney didn't want the marriages recorded.

Gov. Patrick disagreed, saying, "I think that the previous administration was using a gimmick to make what I feel was a discriminatory point. It's a simple gesture to include the information on the register. Keeping it out was the gimmick." Two points for Patrick, as far as we're concerned.

So why would we be having any warm feelings about Romney? Well, in the spirit of equal opportunity, we were tickled to see him come in for the kind of appearance-related commentary female candidates usually endure. In War Room today, Tim Grieve highlights part of a Romney interview in which ABC's Robin Roberts simpered, "The Washington Times ... says -- forgive me -- it's your appearance and you're right out of casting central because of your appearance in that. And they even went so far as to say that your hair is presidential. How do you respond when people talk like that?" ABC News reports that Romney replied, "I don't think of it that way. But I'll do my best to comb it straight tomorrow." Straight, indeed. For more on this important campaign issue, go here.

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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