Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday backed away from his support of adoptions by gay couples, saying that he simply “acknowledges” the legality of such adoptions in many states.Romney's comments supporting gay adoption were designed to sound like he'd had an evolution of his own on civil rights for same-sex couples, making his opposition to marriage equality seem less bigoted. They weren't exactly a Sistah Souljah moment, though, because Romney has long recognized the legitimacy of gay adoption—it's just that most people didn't know it. Romney hoped to take advantage of that lack of knowledge by emphasizing his long-held but little-known view, allowing him to avoid looking like a complete neanderthal. But within 24 hours, Romney faced an outraged Republican base, so he flip-flopped on his fake flip-flop, accomplishing the rare feat of a reverse Sistah Souljah.
A day earlier, Romney, in an interview with Fox News host Neil Cavuto, had indicated that while he does not support same-sex marriage, he considers the adoption of children by gay couples a “right.”
He said on Thursday: “And if two people of the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship, or even to adopt a child — in my state, individuals of the same sex were able to adopt children. In my view, that’s something that people have a right to do. But to call that 'marriage' is something that, in my view, is a departure from the real meaning of that word.”
Romney will no doubt claim this wasn't really a flip-flop: He'll just claim he never believed gay couples had a "right" to adopt kids, and that saying so was just a slip of the tongue. But in 2007, he told ABC News that he believed gay couples had a "right" to have kids of their own. So when Romney says he merely "acknowledges" gay adoption, that is a flip-flop from a position he's held since 2007.
So while Romney's initial goal was clearly to temper the bigotry of his position on marriage equality, staging a fake flip-flop by emphasizing a little-known position that he'd held for years, he ended up not only affirming the bigotry, but flip-flopping for real. In the wrong direction: a reverse Sistah Souljah bellyflop.