In his first interview since the 2012 presidential election, former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney said that he still maintains his opposition to same-sex marriage, in spite of the recent brief signed by lesser-known Republicans advocating its legalization in California.
"I believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that's because I believe the ideal setting for raising a child is where there's a mother and a father in the home," Romney, who also opposed same-sex marriage during his 2012 bid for president, told Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace.
"Other people have differing views and I respect that, whether that's in my party or in the Democratic Party. But these are very personal matters. My hope is that when we discuss things of this nature, we show respect for people who have differing views," Romney added.
Romney's comments come days after a group of Republicans, the majority of whom are moderate or liberal and are not currently holding or campaigning for an elected office, signed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn California's Proposition 8, a ballot initiative supported by the state's voters which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.
Those who signed the brief include actor Clint Eastwood, former Utah governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, former George W. Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley, and former George W. Bush Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.
Additionally, several former aides to Romney's presidential campaign also signed the brief, including Beth Myers and David Kochel, senior advisers to Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, Katie Biber, the Romney campaign's general counsel, and Lee Rudofsky, the deputy general counsel for the campaign.
Stuart Stevens, Romney's lead campaign strategist in 2012, wrote in a recent op-ed for The Washington Post that he believes the GOP should shift its policy position on same-sex marriage to attract younger voters.
"I don't think it's very controversial to suggest that a candidate who favors gay marriage and free contraception might have more appeal to a younger demographic," wrote Stevens.
"A Republican renaissance will inevitably be driven by policy. Parties must constantly reinvent themselves and prove their relevance to voters," Stevens added.
The legal brief signed by these Republicans has been dismissed by pro-traditional marriage advocacy groups, such as the National Organization for Marriage, which argues that opposition to same-sex marriage continues to be a central tenet to the Republican Party's platform.
"None of these people are actively in politics. They are not running for office because they know … supporting same-sex marriage will end your career if you're a Republican," Brian Brown, NOM's president, told NBC.
"There's overwhelming support for traditional marriage in the Republican Party, that's why it's part of the party platform, and any attempt by the establishment to redefine marriage and redefine what it means to be a conservative will mean the death of the Republican Party," Brown added.
U.S. President Barack Obama filed a similar amicus brief in the Proposition 8 case on Thursday, breaking historic practice and going against his previous statements in which he asserted that same-sex marriage should be managed on a state level.
Initial arguments in the Supreme Court case will be heard March 26.
This session, the Supreme Court will also hear a case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, which federally defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.
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