Romney to Shifts From Gay Rights to Economy

Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney
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"That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s, so that was not the case," he said, adding that the students involved "didn't come out of the closet until years later."

In a second interview Thursday, Romney laid out what he said was his long-held position on gay rights: While opposed to gay marriage, he said states should be allowed to grant various domestic partnership rights to same-sex couples, including the right to adopt children.

"States could have their own decisions with regards to the domestic partnership rights," Romney told Fox News in his second interview of the day with the network. "But my preference would be to have a national standard for marriage and that marriage would be defined as being between a man and a woman."

He said he would go as far as supporting gay couples who want to adopt children. "If two people of the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship and even want to adopt a child — in my state, individuals of the same sex are able to adopt children — in my view, that's something which people have the right to do."

Romney's advisers signaled they planned to campaign on the issue 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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Hunt reported from Washington.

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