In 2003, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize marriage equality, just ten months into the first year of Mitt Romney’s term as Governor. The Massachusetts Supreme court ruled that preventing marriage between same-sex couples was discrimination and that they had the right to marry under the law. Romney found himself thrust into a debate centering on legal rights and family values.
Romney campaigned against marriage in 2002.
“Call me old fashioned, but I don’t support gay marriage nor do I support civil union,” Romney declared at an October 2002 gubernatorial debate. Romney voiced his support for basic domestic partnership benefits like hospital visitation rights.