Why Romney Flip-Flopped

My theory is pure, cynical expediency. He needs the Christianist vote to win the nomination. But there is another possible explanation: the Mormon church altered its position in the last decade and has become one of the most viciously anti-gay marriage organizations in America. I knew of the millions they have poured into anti-gay marriage initiatives. But an LDS reader fills in more history:

You're right: Romney's changed position about protecting the civil rights of gays and gay domestic partnerships is NOT a cave-in to Christianists. Instead these are a reflection of his being a devote LDS Mormon. When Romney voiced his earlier stances back in the mid-90's, the LDS had not become active in its political battle against same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships. At that time most educated, urban LDS Mormons I knew had a "live and let live" attitide toward same-sex marriage and partnerships - even while believing that the "practice" of homosexuality was a sin. All that changed around 1997 when the LDS Church began to join the battle against gay unions of any sort.

A good friend of mine in NYC was an emotional mess when the LDS Church asked her to accept an "assignment" to begin networking with other groups - religious and political - to lobby against legislation that would legalize same-sex unions of any sort. This "assignment" came directly from LDS Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. My friend was told that although this was NOT a Church "calling" (which would imply that the LDS Church was involved in politics), she could nevertheless use LDS Church buildings for meetings, could use LDS Church office supplies and that she could ask her local LDS Church priesthood leaders (bishops, stake presidents, etc.) for advice and help if she needed it. The purpose of labeling this activity an "assignment" instead of a "calling," was to give the impression that she was more or less acting on her own as a concerned citizen and that the LDS Church was merely supportive of her efforts.

Romney is now the most public member of one of the most famous LDS families in the world. He is going to "follow the counsel of the Brethren" (do as he is told) on most issues - especially those that the LDS Brethren have made their central focus over the past decade. Among those issues, homosexuality is now number one.

So he's obeying his church. That would explain the shift on gay relationships. It doesn't explain the ENDA flip-flop, though.