Team Romney vs. Team Obama on same-sex marriage
May 8th, 2012
10:32 AM ET
3 years ago

Team Romney vs. Team Obama on same-sex marriage

(CNN) – Former New York governor and Mitt Romney supporter George Pataki injected his voice Tuesday into the debate over the current administration's stance on same-sex marriage, words quickly seized upon by the Obama re-election campaign.

Pataki used President Barack Obama's position to paint the current administration as shifty, while an Obama spokesman said his comments proved Romney has "regressed" on gay rights.

"Either you're for something or you're against it, and Vice President Biden has made it plain he's for it. President Obama on the other hand is looking to have both sides," Pataki said on a conference call with reporters.

Following the call, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt touted the president's record on gay rights and said Pataki "must not be familiar with either the President's record or Governor Romney's."

"He would turn back the clock on all of the progress this President has made to advance equal rights. On the issues important to gays and lesbians, Governor Romney hasn't evolved – he has regressed," LaBolt said in a statement.

On Sunday, Biden expressed support for same-sex marriage, comments the White House insisted did not represent a change from past statements. Obama, who once opposed same-sex marriage, has taken the official position that his stance on the issue is "evolving." He has hinted at fundraisers that there is more work to be done, leading many in the LGBT community to believe the president may work to legalize same-sex marriage on the national level during a second term.

Pataki, the former Republican three-term governor, said Obama is attempting to garner support from constituents who fall on both sides of the issue. He also compared the ongoing conversation surrounding same-sex marriage to the president's open mic moment with then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, "where he said just wait until after the election, I'll have a lot more flexibility then."

"Well I think the American people deserve to know today where President Obama stands today and where he will stand next year on this issue," Pataki said.

Obama will appear with current Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering's Albany NanoTech Complex at the State University of New York Albany for an event on Tuesday. The first-term Democrat has publicly supported same-sex marriage and signed a law legalizing the unions last year.

A Gallup Poll released Tuesday indicated half of Americans believe same-sex marriages should be recognized by law as valid, with 48% saying such marriages should not be legal.

– CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin and CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • George Pataki • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Lolo

    Where do the republicans get their crazy ideas and comments? They are truly power hungry. Kicking out candidates that don't agree with the tea party agendas and making up all types of falsehoods. We can not let them get back in, because if they do we are going to hell in a hand basket.

    May 8, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. KD

    "Either you're for something or you're against it..." Says the supporter of a candidate who holds no positions on anything.

    May 8, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    Pataki is the last person who should talk about being shifty. He only becamer governor due to Al D'Amato, then turned on him when it suited him. Pataki's whole career was about being shifty: no wonder he likes Romney. Besides, Pataki was a strong voice in favor of gay rights, so how does he feel about Romney abandoning his advisor? Typical rightie, no core or convictions, only hate and ambition.

    May 8, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. Anonymous

    I am a born again Cheristian and I think that this is a civil rights issue and not a religious issue. Churches should not have to marry anyone if it is against their articles of faith or doctines, or whatever,, but a group of people should not be denied the same rights as another group of people in this country.

    May 8, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. Willis

    Why doesnt Mr Personality himself instead of his poose hit the news network circut. I have honestly never seen a Politician so incredibly scarred of the Press. Mitt, It really is time for you to LOSE THE SKIRT & answer for yourself instead of hiding behing everyone Else. Whats it gonna Be????????

    May 8, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. No plan + no solution + always complaining = GOP

    We know where the GOP stands but they fail to realize that the country is shifting overall to acceptance. There is an intentional blurring of church and state on this issue and aborition where there should not be. This is supposed to be a free country but it is not if the GOP get what they really want.

    I liked Pataki but he can't cover for Willard the flip-flopper. Who knows – in a few years while he is sitting in one of his mansions he will take credit for GLT rights as well.

    May 8, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. No plan + no solution + always complaining = GOP

    The media did not fall for the bait left by Biden. They should be asking Willard what he stance is and get it on record. Instead they are going after the President – we know his stance already.

    May 8, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    safe to say that no matter WHAT position the president takes on the matter, the GOP will take the OTHER side. Then again if Obama comes out and says he is TOTALLY against gay marriage it would be funny to see Romney scramble on how to handle that.

    May 8, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. keeth

    And the GOP is against everything. They are FOR nothing, except returning to some kind of 1950s that never really existed.

    May 8, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I guess Republicans don't think gays/lesbians are "American people". Carefully read the content of what Pataki said.

    May 8, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. Namryan

    He should know, he supports the inventor of shifty! A man that can shift his position in a single sentence!

    May 8, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    to paint the current administration as shifty.
    =================================
    No surprise here. They've played politics and been shifty slimey weasels on just about everything. It's all part of the Obama smoke, mirror and snake oil strategy. You can't believe a word that comes out of his mouth.

    May 8, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. Marie MD

    I see that the sociobishop has a lot of mouthpieces. He can't speak for himself? What is his obsession about Russia? Can he see it from his deck in La Jolla?
    We already know that any decision he makes has to go through the koch bros, norquist, the talking fat head had faux news, but pataki? Really? Let's not leave out grenell and why he was fired.
    They do circle the wagons don't they? The $250m needs to show us his long dorm beige certificate and what happened go his taxes? Come on CNN where are his taxes from 2011? Grow a pair media!!!

    May 8, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Marie MD

    That should read long form birth certificate. These darn ipads!!!

    May 8, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    George Pataki is no different from any of the other Republicans. There is a recent video of him singing the praises of Mitt Romney and downplaying his wealth. Pataki says that Romney relates to "middle class families like myself...." If Pataki is middle class? From a conservative perspective, he is telling the truth.

    May 8, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. lyn

    Some people must have very boring lives to be butting their noses where it doesn't belong. It should be no skin off your nose who other's marry.

    May 8, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. rs

    You just have to love the current GOP- They hate gays, and have worked hard in state legilsatures to ban any form of gay marriage, but they call Obama's stance "shifty"? These people simply have no souls.
    To the GOP, the LGBT community is just like any other minority (or even women)- they actually wish to deny them their civil rights, lie to them, intimidate them and marganalize their voting rights-because they tend to vote for the more progressive candidates who support their needs.

    May 8, 2012 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  18. d

    What a dope! i think biden or anyone for that matter can and should say how they think about issues...unlike the gop that cant and wont say what they are for...btw we the people are still waiting for romney to say what he is for...besides being against obama. hard to make a choice when no info is given.

    May 8, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  19. vulpecula

    "Either you're for something or you're against it" – Pataki

    Republican mindset that keeps the congress from getting anything done. Ever heard of indifferent?
    Obama isn't being "shifty". He just realizes it's a States issue and isn't sticking his nose in were it doesn't belong. But the Republicans would like for him to get involved just so they cold have something else to hate about.

    May 8, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. Michael

    I'm republican and I believe that Marriage is between a Man and a Woman. NEVERTHELESS, I think that same-gender couples should have the same benefits as those who can marry, but I believe the word marriage should be saved for hetero couples. Same benefits as marriage, different name, all happy.

    May 8, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. s.s

    We need to know where both Romney and Obama stands!! before we rally for a third party candidate!!

    May 8, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. Tony

    Romney makes it hard on his supporters. Now that he has taken credit for the auto industry bailout, his supporters have no choice but to stop using the talking point that the bailout was a payoff to union bosses. They already had to stop attacking Obama's health care bill as socialism, because Romney's Massachusetts plan does basically the same thing. Now they need to stop going after one of their favorite targets, labor unions. No wonder so many Republicans hate Romney.

    May 8, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. B.

    Obama has to confront this and take a definite position.

    May 8, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. PaulCat

    Who are we to tell another person whom they should marry ? It's "THEIR" business. This is what I call BIG government.

    May 8, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. Anthony

    Republicans must be asking themselves: if Romney is taking credit for Obama's policy, what is the point of electing Romney? If people think that Romney will lower the deficit, do they know that Romney's tax cut plan will add more than 3 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years compared to current (Obama's) policy?

    May 8, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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