Mitt Romney: Well, I'm not about punishment. That's not what I'm considering.
I'm saying that, in my view, we should let the states make that decision and I am in favor of life and in favor of choosing life.
Stephanopoulos: So you're not going to say what the punishment should be.
Mitt Romney: I don't begin to have any idea for what a particular state's decision should be. I think the...
Stephanopoulos: But you've been governor of a state. You have to have some idea.
Mitt Romney: Well, our state is overwhelmingly a pro-choice state and Massachusetts would, under the construct I suggested, remain a pro-choice state.
This is not about punishment. This is about allowing states to make a decision on an issue of great moral significance to a lot of people and I think, state by state, we should allow a federalist approach as it relates to the issue of abortion.
Stephanopoulos: Let me move to the issue of gay rights.
When you ran for Senator in 1994, you supported the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military as what you called a first step that will ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in our nation's military.
Is that still the goal, that gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly and honestly in the military?
Mitt Romney: Well, "don't ask, don't tell" has worked well.
At that point, I must admit, I was somewhat uncertain as to whether that would work and I was skeptical as to whether that policy would work.
It's now been in place for well over a decade. We're in the middle of a conflict. Now is not the time for a change in that regard and I don't have a policy posture as to allowing gays in the military to serve there openly.
But I can tell you that I'm against discrimination against people who are gay and lesbian.
Stephanopoulos: What do you, I don't understand, that you don't have a policy posture? Before, you thought that there should be...
Mitt Romney: I'm not in favor of changing it. I'm in favor of leaving it as it is. Certainly, at this stage, there's no reason to change it.
The policy that we've had in place for over a decade is working. So my view is keep it in place, don't move for a change.
Stephanopoulos: That current policy labels homosexuality as a defect. Is that what you believe?
Mitt Romney: You know, I'm not going to suggest that I'm in any way a psychologist. That's a decision a psychologist would have to tell you and I'm not going to weigh in on that.
What I can tell you is I oppose discrimination on the basis of race, gender, but also sexual preference.
And so I'm not in favor of discrimination in that regard, but I do favor and have always favored traditional marriage and oppose same sex marriage.
Stephanopoulos: I was just going to get to that.
Mitt Romney: From the very beginning of my political life and well before that, I've felt marriage is between a man and a woman and not between people of the same gender.
Stephanopoulos: You have been consistent about that, but what do you think about legally recognizing domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian couples?
Mitt Romney: I don't know if there needs to be a legal recognition, meaning two people can enter into a partnership, whether they're people who love each other or whether they're just friends. They can enter into a contract and have contractual relationships with one another.
Stephanopoulos: But not sanctioned by the state…