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Mitt Romney courts evangelicals at Liberty University

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That forced Romney to reiterate his position: That marriage as limited to one man and one woman should be enshrined in the US Constitution.

As Americans increasingly and apparently rapidly approve of gay marriage, this puts Romney on what critics call “the wrong side of history” on a civil rights issue, especially among younger voters (18-34), 70 percent of whom approve of same-sex marriage. Women too are more likely to be comfortable with gay marriage than men – a portion of the electorate Republicans need to attract in greater numbers.

But among social conservatives – especially evangelical Christians – Romney is right.

Speaking at Liberty University, his strongest applause line was his brief reference to the subject: “Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.”

Still, a significant minority of evangelical Christians are wary of the Mormon faith.

As recently as last fall, during the debates leading to the Republican primaries and caucuses, Dallas megachurch Baptist minister and prominent evangelical leader Robert Jeffress (who was supporting Texas Governor Rick Perry at the time), called Romney’s Mormon religion “a cult” and “not Christianity.”

In January, a survey by YouGov found that 20 percent of Republicans nationally – and 31 percent of Southern evangelical Republicans – would not vote for a “qualified Mormon” for president.

But now that Romney is the apparent Republican nominee, that attitude seems to be changing.

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