"We ought to be talking about the economy and jobs," Romney started his answer, "but given the fact you are insistent, the answer is I believe 'don't ask, don't tell' should have been kept in place until conflict was over."
"I am also convinced that it is the first of a number of steps that will ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in our nation's military," Romney wrote [in 1994]. "That goal will only be reached when preventing discrimination against gays and lesbians is a mainstream concern, which is a goal we share."
Then in 2007, while running for the Republican presidential nomination, Romney said he "would not change" the policy.
Back in 1994, Romney said he viewed the military's then-newly adopted "don't ask, don't tell" policy as a first step toward letting gays and lesbians "serve openly and honestly."
But during his first run for president, Romney defended "don't ask, don't tell" during a 2007 GOP debate on CNN.
"When I first heard of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, I thought it sounded awful silly and didn't think that'd be very effective, and I turned out to be wrong," Romney said. "It's been the policy now in the military for, what, 10, 15 years — and it seems to be working. This is not the time to put in major change, a social experiment, in the middle of a war going on."
In an editorial meeting in early November with the Des Moines Register, which endorsed him for the Iowa caucuses pending on Jan. 3, Romney was asked, “How do you feel about gays serving openly in the military?”
Romney said, “That’s already occurred. I’m not planning on reversing that at this stage.”
The reporter followed up, “But you’re comfortable with it?”
Romney answered, “I was not comfortable with making the change during a period of conflict, by virtue of the complicating features of a new program in the middle of two wars going on. But those wars are winding down, and moving to that direction at this stage no longer presents that problem.”
President Obama repealed the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy that prevented gays from serving openly in the military. Romney was not in favor of the repeal.