Mitt Romney decided to double down on his opposition to gay marriage during his commencement address at Liberty University this Saturday. After having the unfortunate circumstance of watching the entire twenty minute speech which aired on C-SPAN, if you thought some of his speeches on the campaign trail were bad, this one was worse. The response from the crowd for the better part of the speech was tepid at best except for the portion where he spoke out against gay marriage, which did get him a healthy round of applause.
Romney's presence at the University was not welcomed by all. After the announcement that Romney would be giving the commencement address, students were protesting the school's decision to have him there: Liberty's choice of Romney leads to angry student response.
And this Saturday, there was this: Gay Republicans Slam Romney For Speaking At Liberty:
The gay consevative group GOProud is not happy Mitt Romney chose to speak at Liberty University Saturday.
A statement from GOProud co-founder Jimmy LaSalvia was sent to reporters as Romney delivered his address:
Today, Governor Mitt Romney spoke at Liberty University. Liberty was founded by the late Jerry Falwell, who in 2007 said, “AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharaoh’s charioteers … AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”
The speech at Liberty comes just days after top Romney adviser Ed Gillespie said that Governor Romney would campaign on the issue of marriage. In response, JimmyLaSalvia, Executive Director and Co-Founder of GOProud – a national organization of gay and straight Americans seeking to promote freedom by supporting free markets, limited government, and a respect for individual rights, issued the following statement:
“The father of the modern conservative movement, former US Senator Barry Goldwater, once said of Jerry Falwell that he needed a kick in the ass. With his speech at Falwell’s Liberty University, it is clear that Governor Romney’s message to Goldwater conservatives is: drop dead.
You can read the rest of their response in the post at TPM. He was also met with this from MoveOn today: Romney’s Liberty University Speech Protested From The Air:
The student loan debate was (literally) in the air as Mitt Romney prepared to make his commencement address at Liberty University here. As the graduation ceremony at this evangelical Christian university began, a single-engined plane flew circles around the commencement towing a banner reading “GOP = HIGHER SCHOOL DEBT.”
The fight to extend the interest rate on Stafford loans is one of the few where President Obama and Romney are on the same page. Both favor extending low interest rates on Stafford student loans. The extension is currently tied up in Congress, where Republicans and Democrats are split on how to pay for the rate extension.
Transcript of Romney's remarks in the clip above below the fold via:
You enter a world with civilizations and economies that are far from equal. Harvard historian David Landes devoted his lifelong study to understanding why some civilizations rise, and why others falter. His conclusion: Culture makes all the difference. Not natural resources, not geography, but what people believe and value. Central to America’s rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.
The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self, and, at the foundation, the pre-eminence of the family.
The power of these values is evidenced by a Brookings Institution study that Senator Rick Santorum brought to my attention. For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2%. But, if those things are absent, 76% will be poor. Culture matters.
As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.
The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate. It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with. Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government.
But from the beginning, this nation trusted in God, not man. Religious liberty is the first freedom in our Constitution. And whether the cause is justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and the sick, or mercy for the child waiting to be born, there is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.
And here's more on that Brookings Institution study Romney was noting here: Santorum: Marriage Prevents Poverty -- Unless You're Gay:
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says that everyone but gay men and lesbians can stay out of poverty by just getting married.
At a campaign event in Muscatine, Iowa Thursday, a questioner asked Santorum how his anti-poverty plan would help the gays who can't legally marry in 45 states.
"If you graduate from high school, you get married before you have children, and of course you work -- that's sort of a given, you have to work -- you do those three things, there's a 2 percent chance you'll be in poverty," the candidate said, referring to a 2009 Brookings Institution study. [...]
But a recent study (PDF) by Economic Policy Institute indicated that Santorum may have things backwards.
"Continually high poverty rates among blacks and Latinos are the result of high unemployment and incarceration rates and declining shares of good jobs in the American economy," report author Algernon Austin wrote. "The decline in marriage among these groups is a collateral consequence of these negative economic conditions."
A 2009 Williams Institute report found that same sex couples were significantly impacted by marriage discrimination because they could not jointly file federal tax returns, transfer property, receive Social Security survival benefits and other factors.