Mitt Romney, ex-Governor of Massachusetts and staunch opponent of gay marriage, has today officially announced a bid for the Republican party’s candidacy for President of the United States.
Speculation about his intentions has been rife since he first resigned from the post of Governor in 2005.
Massachusetts is the only state in America to have legalised gay marriage.
This was not the work of Romney, a Mormon who once worked as a missionary in France.
The Supreme Court of Massachusetts established the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry.
Americans liberals are worried about the candidacy of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mormons believe that homosexuality, and homosexual desire, are sinful.
The church has opposed all efforts in America to legalise same-sex marriage or civil unions.
In his speech announcing his candidacy, Romney made allusions to the traditional family unit, including a mother and a father as the “foundation of America.”
He then went on to criticise the “unelected judges” who have the ability to make laws.
Romney is also a believer in the “sanctity of life.”
When he first ran for Governor, he pledged not to change the abortion laws, but it seems that his views on Roe v. Wade are becoming more critical by the day.
Roe v. Wade, one of the most politcally significant cases in legal history, is the 1973 ruling of the United States Supreme Court that allowed women the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy.
Overturning that ruling is a talisman for the Christian right, and abortion has been a major election issue in America, at every electoral level, for a generation.
Romney’s speech re-iterated the traditional Republican commitment to smaller government and lower taxes.
He has experience in state government and in business: he was the CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
However, he has no experience in Congress, or international politics.
This may not be a barrier, as four out of the last five Presidents have come toWashington straight from state politics.
Last December it was revealed that Mr Romney once courted the gay community for their support in a 1994 campaign for the US Senate.
In a letter, published by Massachusetts newspaper Bay Windows, he promises to represent his gay and lesbian constituents.
“I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party, and I would be a voice in the Republican Party to foster anti-discrimination efforts,” he wrote.
The revelation angered conservatives in the US.
Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, told the New York Times: “This is going to create a lot of problems for Governor Romney, he is going to have a hard time overcoming this.”
Former New York City mayor Rudi Giuliani and Arizona Senator John McCain are seen as the front-runners in the race to secure the Republican nomination for President.
At this stage, 12 politicians have declared their candidacy or have formed exploratory committees.
The eventual winner will be announced at the 2008 Republican convention at the start of September 2008.
The Presidential election will be held on 4th November 2008 and a new President will take office on 20th January 2009.
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