Romney Hedging on Civil Unions?

A few minutes ago TPM Reader FZ flagged this passage in a statement Gov. Romney made this morning on the gay marriage issue. Romney was clear and categorical on his opposition to same sex marriages (no surprise there). But he did seem to hedge, pretty needlessly, on the issue of civil unions.

Here’s the quote …

“Well when these issues were raised in my state of Massachusetts, I indicated my view, which is I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name. My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not.”

As FZ put it, what does that mean exactly? I’m not sure why Romney wouldn’t say, I’m against gay marriage. I’m against civil unions. But I could support visitation rights, some domestic partnership benefits etc. But he didn’t. He seems to be saying that some civil unions could be okay as long as they’re clearly inferior to ‘marriage’, rather than simply being a different name for the identical bundle of rights.

Our reporting team is trying to find out more about what Romney meant. But for now I wanted to draw attention to the remarks and see what others thought.

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