Mitt Romney says that marriage is between a man and a woman. This is a slight revision of the definition several of his 19th-century ancestors used.
If Mitt is elected this November, he will easily set the record for president with the most second and third cousins. His great-grandfather Miles Park Romney (1843-1904, top) was a regular Bone Ranger, with five wives and 32 children. According to Mormon genealogy site Our-Genealogy, and based on an old family memoir by Miles’ daughter Ethel Romney Peterson, Miles married Hannah Hood Hill at age 18, left for a mission to England, and on his return “entered plural marriage by taking to wife Carrie Lambourne” in 1867. He married Catherine Jane Cottam in 1873 and Annie Woodbury in 1877. The 1870s were a fertile period for Romney: His four wives bore him nine children. The 1880s were even more so, with 11 new Romneys born between 1880 and 1888. In one especially spermy year, 1883-84, Miles Romney impregnated three of his wives. In 1885, “political conditions” caused him to resettle his family in Mexico.
One of Miles’ sons, Gaskell Romney (Mitt’s grandfather), married Anna Amelia Pratt, granddaughter of Parley Parker Pratt (1807-1857, lower right), an Apostle of the Mormon Church who had 12 wives and (roughly) 32 children. Pratt was shot and stabbed to death in Arkansas in 1857 by Hector McLean, “the legal husband of one of Pratt’s plural wives, Eleanor McLean” (his twelfth). As Mitt’s great-great-grandfather was bleeding to death, a farmer asked him what caused the attack. His response: “He accused me of taking his wife and children. I did not do it. They were oppressed, and I did for them what I would do for the oppressed anywhere.”
So when Mitt says marriage has been defined as the union of a man and a woman for 3000 years, he might want to examine his own family tree.