Still, when Romney ran for Senate in 1994, he argued that he would be a better advocate for gay rights' issues than Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy because he would make gay issues mainstream. "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 said in a 1994 interview.
Obama on Wednesday became the first president in history to support gay marriage, and Romney was careful to use empathic language as he responded to that decision.
"This is a very tender and sensitive topic as are many social issues, but I have the same views I've had since running for office," Romney said, a rhetorical contrast with some of his sharper responses on issues like immigration.
Romney's advisers signaled they planned to campaign on the issue in November's election, but acknowledged they would have to tread carefully. "I think it's important to be respectful in how we talk about our differences, but the fact is that's a significant difference in November," Ed Gillespie, a senior Romney adviser, said Thursday on MSNBC.
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