Mitt Romney, the failed 2012 Republican candidate for president, appeared on NBC's Meet The Press today where he was asked if he changed his views on gay marriage, in light of recent court decisions overturning bans on same sex couples marrying in three states.
Romney said that he still believed that marriage should be a right granted only to heterosexual couples, because that is "the way that it's been defined for several thousand years."
Meet The Press host David Gregory asked Romney if he could point to any negative effects of gay marriage that he has witnessed in the 10 years since he wrote an essay titled, "A Citizen's Guide to Protecting Marriage," when he was governor of Massachusetts.
Then-Governor Mitt Romney published the op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal in 2004 after a court decision in Massachusetts made that state the first in the United States to allow legal same sex marriages.
Romney admitted he did not know of any ill effects of gay marriage in the last 10 years, but it was still too early to tell.
"I think it's going to take a long, long time to determine whether having gay marriage will make it less likely for kids to be raised in settings where there's a mom and a dad," Romney told the Meet The Press audience. "That's not going to happen overnight. It's something which happens over generations."
Earlier in the week, a court in Virginia threw out that state's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, even though the prohibition had been approved by Virginia voters in 2006. The decision followed similar rulings negating voter-approved gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah.
Romney said that gay couples cannot be prevented from living together because "that's their right." But he still believes they should not have a right to codify that relationship as a marriage under the law.
"The ideal setting for raising a child is in a setting where there's a father and a mother. There are many other different settings that children are raised in," said Mitt Romney. "And people have the right to live their life as they want to."
Gregory asked Mitt Romney if he believed the gay marriage issue was a political loser for Republicans, but the businessman-turned-politician brushed the topic aside.
"I don't know if you have to worry about who wins and who loses a particular fight," said Mitt Romney. "I think you stand for various principles. You communicate those to the American people, and they either support those or not."