S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley Defends Romney as Pro-Marriage, Pro-Life

By Penny Starr | April 10, 2012 | 8:56 PM EDT

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley spoke on April 5, 2012 at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) said she asked GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney about his social conservative views before she endorsed him because of concerns expressed by many conservative Republicans that Romney’s record on those issues, such as marriage and the sanctity of life, seem inconsistent.

At the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. on Apr. 5, CNSNews.com asked Gov. Haley, “What would you say to Republicans who feel that Mitt Romney is not conservative enough? There’s questions about his conservative credentials, especially his social conservatism.”

Haley said, “Well, I can tell you from a personal front, those are some of the questions I asked him as well. You know, I asked him about family and he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

“I am strongly pro-life,” said Haley. “Not because the party tells me to be but because [my husband] Michael was adopted and we had difficulty having both of our children. So we appreciate the blessings of that. And I asked him on that and, if you look at his – and I questioned him on that – and if you look at his record as governor, he always voted on the side of life. He always took action on the side of life. There’s not one time that he didn’t.”

“And so, what I will tell you is, as we’re going through this process, people are really looking at what they want and they’re doing the right thing – it’s the great part of our democracy,” said Haley.

“But what we all agree on, regardless of who that Republican candidate is that they may be supporting, we all know what we don’t want,” she said. “And that’s what we’ve had for the past three years and I think everybody will come back to that in the end.”

But in the past and during this primary campaign for 2012 GOP presidential nomination, Mitt Romney has taken positions that do not always square with the traditional, social conservative viewpoint, particularly Romney’s views on gay “marriage,” the adoption of children by homosexuals, and his support for emergency contraceptive drugs in Massachusetts when he was governor there, among other issues.

During the GOP debate in New Hampshire in June 2011, Romney said he favored a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, a position he has held since his 2008 bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

But in a 2002 interview with a pro-homosexual magazine, Romney said he could support “domestic partnerships” for same-sex couples. “As it relates to gay and lesbian issues in particular, I would look to protect already established rights and extend basic civil rights to domestic partnerships,” Romney said.

The former governor has essentially maintained that position: He says he believes marriage should be reserved for the legal union between one man and one woman but, at the same time, he could support legal recognition for homosexuals in “domestic partnerships.”

In October 2011, Romney’s campaign provided a statement to CNSNews.com saying that he believes giving homosexuals the right to adopt children is an issue that should be decided by each state.

“Gov. Romney has consistently said that gay adoption should be assessed on a state-by-state basis--not at the federal level,” the statement said.

At the Dec. 15, 2011,  Republican debate in Sioux City, Iowa, Romney was asked about his conversion from pro-abortion to pro-life.

Romney acknowledged that he had formerly supported abortion, but said he changed his mind in 2004 after considering legislation on embryonic stem-cell research.

Romney remarked that led him to veto the bill that would have “created new embryos for the purpose of destroying them.”

Romney has also said he would not reverse the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the U.S. military – under DADT, homosexuals could serve in the military provided they did not disclose their homosexual intentions; with the repeal of DADT by the Obama administration, gays can serve openly in the military.

In an editorial meeting in early November with the Des Moines Register, Romney was asked, “How do you feel about gays serving openly in the military?”

Romney said, “That’s already occurred. I’m not planning on reversing that at this stage.”

The reporter then asked, “But you’re comfortable with it?”

Romney answered, “I was not comfortable with making the change during a period of conflict, by virtue of the complicating features of a new program in the middle of two wars going on. But those wars are winding down, and moving to that direction at this stage no longer presents that problem.”

In a Feb. 2, 2012 article, CNSNews.com documented Romney’s actions as governor requiring Catholic hospitals to provide drugs that can induce abortion to victims of rape.

But during a February 2012 GOP debate in Arizona, Romney denied that he had ordered Catholic hospitals to provide abortion pills to rape victims.

"No, absolutely not. Of course not," Romney said.

"There was no requirement in Massachusetts for the Catholic Church to provide morning-after pills to rape victims. That was entirely voluntary on their part. There was no such requirement," Romney said.

However, in his third year as governor of Massachusetts, Romney decided that Catholic hospitals would be required, under his interpretation of that state law, to give rape victims a drug that can induce abortions. In announcing the decision in December 2005, Romney said in his personal view, “it's the right thing for hospitals to provide information and access to emergency contraception to anyone who is a victim of rape.”

In early comments at the American Enterprise Institute event, held in part to promote Haley’s new memoir, Can’t is Not An Option, the South Carolina govenor said she liked the fact that Romney has not held political office in Washington and his considerable business experience.