Mitt Romney: The Complete Interview

But that doesn't require a sanction by the state and so that's a decision each state would have to make. I wouldn't seek to impose, at the national level, a prohibition on contractual relationships between two people.

But my view is, at the national level, we should define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. And this isn't about adult rights.

A lot of people get confused that gay marriage is about treating gay people the same as treating heterosexual people, and that's not the issue involved here.

This is about the development and nurturing of children. Marriage is primarily an institution to help develop children and children's development, I believe, is greatly enhanced by access to a mom and a dad.

I think every child deserves a mom and a dad, and that's why I'm so consistent and vehement in my view that we should have a federal amendment which defines marriage in that way.

Stephanopoulos: I was going to ask you about that, because in 2005, in South Carolina, you actually seemed to mock the idea of gays and lesbians adopting and bearing children.

Mitt Romney: No, that wasn't my intent. I know one quote said I made the point that gay couples are even having children and there's been a lot of attention.

I think it wasn't apparent immediately to me that two people of the same gender would be having children. Biologically, that doesn't work, unless, of course, there are donors, and I've made that point to the audience.

I don't mean to mock that in any way and I know we have gay adoption in Massachusetts. Other states do. It's a decision made by state-by-state…

Stephanopoulos: Are you for it?

Mitt Romney: …and there are gay couples that are having children of their own and, obviously, that's their right.

But my belief is that the idea setting for a child is where there's a mom and a dad.

Stephanopoulos: So you don't share the concern of some Evangelicals, like James Dobson, with Mary Cheney's announcement that she was going to have a child.

Mitt Romney: My view is that the right model for the nation and the right standard for the nation is marriage is between a man and a woman and a child deserves a mom and a dad.

Stephanopoulos: Let's talk about guns. You were supportive of the Brady bill, the handgun waiting period, in the past. You signed an assault weapon ban into law and you said, in the past, "I don't line up with the NRA."

Now, you...

Mitt Romney: Well, on that issue.

Stephanopoulos: Now you're a member of the NRA.

Mitt Romney: Yes, and I know the NRA does not support an assault weapon ban. So I don't line up on that particular issue with the NRA, either does President Bush. He likewise says he supported an assault weapon ban.

Today we don't have the Brady bill because we have instantaneous background checks. That's no longer a operative or needed measure.

But I'm a strong proponent of Second Amendment rights. I believe people, under our Constitution, have the right to bear arms.

We have a gun in one of our homes. It's not owned by me, it's owned by my son, but I've always considered it sort of mine…

Stephanopoulos: When did you join the NRA?

Mitt Romney: Within the last year and I signed up for a lifelong membership. I think they're doing good things and I believe in supporting the right to bear arms.

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