-- Mitt Romney reaffirmed his view that marriage is between "a man and a woman," offering a sharp contrast to President Obama who announced earlier today that he now backs the right of gay couples to marry.
Speaking to reporters after a campaign event in Oklahoma City, Romney said his position on same sex marriage is unchanged despite Obama's shift on the issue.
"I have the same view on marriage that I had when I was governor. I believe marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman," Romney said. "I have the same view I've had since, well, running for office."
Romney's comments come just hours after Obama told ABC News he now backs the right of same sex couples to marry. At a campaign event in Colorado earlier Wednesday, Romney had declined to comment on the president's shift when questioned about the news by reporters.
"Not on the rope line," he told Politico's Reid Epstein.
Romney did address the topic of same sex marriage in a local television interview earlier Wednesday. Asked by Fox affiliate KDVR-TV about a bill that would have allowed civil unions for same-sex couples in Colorado, Romney reiterated his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.
"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," Romney told KDVR. "My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not."
Romney's campaign has been muted in its reaction to Obama's gay marriage shift. Aides to the presumptive nominee did not respond to requests for comment on how they see the issue playing in the 2012 campaign or whether Romney will use the issue to whip up support among social conservatives this fall.
But in a statement, Republican National Commitee chairman Reince Priebus suggested it would be an issue the party would focus on heading into November.
"While President Obama has played politics on this issue, the Republican Party and our presumptive nominee Mitt Romney have been clear," Priebus said. "We support maintaining marriage between one man and one woman and would oppose any attempts to change that."
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