Romney donor pulls support, backs Obama, over same-sex marriage
May 14th, 2012
04:48 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney donor pulls support, backs Obama, over same-sex marriage

(CNN) – A well-known, openly gay supporter of Mitt Romney in New York has decided to withdraw his support for Romney and back President Barack Obama instead.

The clincher: Romney's stance on same-sex marriage.

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"I feel that I no longer wish to support your presidential campaign and ask that you please return the maximum contribution that I gave to you last year," Bill White wrote in a letter addressed to the former Massachusetts governor and obtained by CNN.

"You have chosen to be on the wrong side of history and I do not support your run for president any longer," White added.

CNN contacted the Romney campaign but did not receive a response.

White is the chairman and CEO of the New York-based consulting firm Constellations Group. He was previously the president of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum – the cultural and educational institution whose major presence is the floating World War II Intrepid aircraft carrier sitting on the Hudson River. White told CNN he has advocated on behalf of injured and fallen veterans for 20 years - being awarded the Meritorious Public Service Award from the Coast Guard and from the Navy.

White told CNN he is a registered independent who has supported both Republicans and Democrats in the past, including former presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. FEC records show that White contributed to both Republicans and Democrats over the years, including Hillary Clinton in 2008. Most recently, White gave $2,500 to Romney for President, Inc., according to FEC records.

White began his letter to Romney stating, "I am currently a max donor to your 2012 presidential campaign." He did not fundraise for the Romney campaign, though he said his partner and some friends also contributed to Romney.

In his letter, White goes on to mention the president's public announcement of his personal support for same-sex marriage last week.

"Several days later this past Saturday to a packed stadium of young college students you made the following statement that 'Marriage is only between one man and one woman,'" White wrote, referring to Romney's recent commencement address to Liberty University, an evangelical school in Lynchburg, Virginia.

"I believe that you will do as you now say and try to force a constitutional amendment which would attempt to make my own legal and blessed marriage null and void."

In an interview with CNN, White explained his stance.

"I felt we gave 'Hope and Change' a chance and I was looking for something different," White said.

"Quite frankly, I was not supporting Barack Obama – I was supporting Mitt Romney. And my support is not just words or my vote, it's also putting my money where my mouth is."

White said he does not agree with the president on fiscal policy – something he sides more with Romney on.

"I just think we're spending probably money that we don't have," he said.

And yet, White said: "I'm looking at the television screen one day and I see my president – whether I'm Republican or Democrat, he is my president…and I'm looking at him doing one thing, one day. And two days later, I'm looking at a guy who I'm supporting for president, and who I want to be my president and who I've given my money to, to be president, saying something I didn't think he would be saying."

CNN pressed White: Why now, given that Romney's stance is not new?

"I had a very visceral reaction to him – he had a great opportunity… to get on the right side of history," White responded. "And to be someone to the country that helps to unite us, versus what divides us. And I just think his very proactive intention to pounce on this issue now has sent me to the other side."

"Now, I feel like he's declared war on my marriage. And I could just sit back and not say anything. Or I could do something about it. And I've chosen to do something about it."

Following news of the president's decision, leading Republican LGBT advocacy groups expressed skepticism over its motivation. GOProud called Obama's announcement "hardly a profile in courage" and the Log Cabin Republicans labeled it "calculated." That suggests that the president's stance has not swayed everyone in the gay community to support him.

Meanwhile, Romney is not alone in seeing backlash from supporters.

The president has also faced problems over his stance. While some African-American pastors took to the pulpit Sunday to support the president, others were critical. One religious leader, Emmett Burns of Baltimore, supported Obama in 2008 but has now pulled his support.

"I love the president, but I cannot support what he has done," Burns said at the church.

Also see:

Ron Paul to end active campaigning

RNC, Team Romney roll out debt attack on Obama

Leading progressive group attacks Romney over women's issues

Obama headlines two high dollar fundraisers in NYC


Filed under: 2012 • Fundraising • Mitt Romney • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. vatoloke

    Of course, Romney is once again taking the NOPe into the wrong side of history.

    May 15, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    The flip floppef is just sorry that he can't marry more than one wife at a time.
    I am more interested in what the President has done than in what people do in their bedrooms or who they marry,
    Maybe all these people who are so against it could shift their focus to what the teatards ard frying to do to women. Then again, marriage started as a slavery of sorts system. Fathers,NOT mothers, sold their daughters.

    May 15, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Aeromechanic

    While I am glad for anyone and everyone who backs Obama, switching candidates and party over support for one single issue is pathetic.

    May 15, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. natfka

    Its always good to find who these supporters are, so that we can stop using their services. Making a public political stance like this is not a good thing for a company to do. I wonder what Romney will do without his 2,500 dollars? lol

    May 15, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. natfka

    I wonder what Romney will do without his 2,500 dollars? lol

    May 15, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Who cares???? It isn't going to make ANY difference.

    May 15, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. Ed1

    I don't think people are switching over one single issue it's just that Obama is a lousy President since day 1.

    This man is making Jimmy Carter look great and he continues to flip flop according on what the polls say.

    May 15, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Scot

    It is a start !!!!!

    May 15, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    despite Romney's denials, his Grandparents fled the United States for Mexico to avoids prosecytion for polygamy. That is one man and as many wives as he can support. You would think that a man whose family was persecuted for marital reasons by the government might be a tad more accepting of alternative marriges. But no, Romney has caved, yet again, to the viewpoint of the narrow minded section of the far right.
    I am a devourt hetro. I also believe that you love whoever your heart tells you to. If a gay couple wants to marry it is not my job to tell them that they are wrong. Nor should I be the one to tell them they cannot get Insurance coverage for their loved ones, nor should I disallow them social security benefits or rights of inheritance. All they want are the same rights and privilages granted to every male-female couple in the United States
    Just think how you would feel if the shoe was on the other foot, if you were not allowed to care for and marry who you wished because someone you never met disapproved of it.

    May 15, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  10. Chipster

    It is good to know who these donors are, especially those who support the Constitution and equal protection for all people, not just those who are the majority or the most popular. Those are the donors that I will support. It's easy to support rights for people who are just like you or me. It takes courage to defend people who don't fit the standard mold. I'm glad the President finally decided that the Constitution, not his personal preferences, should be the source for decisions involving justice and equality.

    May 15, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. BeverlyNC

    If anyone took a real look at Romney they would run the other direction too. He has no platform, no policies, no principles, no details on anything he would do as President, refuses to answer any questions on issues, lies constantly, changes his postions based on the audience he is before and on and on. Do you Republicans really know who Romney is? What he really believes? Do you really know what being a Mormon is about? It is not Christianity. Romney has never contributed to charity as he claims – it all went to the Mormon Church because in their belief system, you buy your way up in the church to different levels of status. Romney is a fraud, a liar, and you are going to be horrified when you discover who this candidate really is if you take time to look at who and what he really is. Better find someone else now. He will be exposed by President Obama and then beaten in a landslide including Republican voters.

    May 15, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  12. chriscarp

    I can't believe someone wrote an entire article about one person who contributed $2,500 to a mega-millions presidential campaign. Really, who cares????

    May 15, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. BeverlyNC

    A real look at Romney and all would run the other direction too.

    He is an empty suit with a great talent for deception and lying.

    He has no platform, no policies, no principles, no details on anything he would do as President, refuses to answer any questions on issues, lies constantly, changes his postions based on the audience he is before and on and on. Do you Republicans really know who Romney is? What he really believes? Do you really know what being a Mormon is about? It is not Christianity. Romney has never contributed to charity as he claims – it all went to the Mormon Church because in their belief system, you buy your way up in the church to different levels of status.

    Romney is a fraud, a liar, and you are going to be horrified when you discover who this candidate really is if you take time to look at who and what he really is. Better find someone else now. He will be exposed by President Obama and then beaten in a landslide including Republican voters.

    May 15, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Me IN HOUSTON

    Look, if you don't like Romney's stance on gay marriage just wait a couple of days...It will change

    May 15, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Rudy NYC

    I think that any theocratic argument that "marriage is between a man and a woman" are irrelevant. We have freedom of religion in this country and that includes the right to have *no* religious beliefs at all.

    Besides, I am sure some Christian Conservatives would be up in arms if someone came along and began dictating how they should live their lives to them. It works both ways. They have no right to dictate to an atheist how they should live their life.

    Until someone can present a credible argument against same-sex marriage that is not based upon some arbitrary set of religious values, then I cannot find any legal reason why it should be outlawed. How come Republicans are always crying about Liberty, yet they are always the ones passing legislation that restricts it?

    May 15, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Tex71

    The public statement by an independent voter with a nonpartisan moderate history – and a successful businessman and friend of the military to boot – is worth a whole lot more than $2500. He is right – Romney has chosen the wrong side in this historic conflict. For as long as there has been history, change always wins.

    May 15, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. beevee

    I am surprised that people seem to think that if a person is successful in running a private business, as Romeny is, it is a positive experience to run the fiscal policies of the country. I think that it is not right, The reason is, the bottoline for businesses is profit however you make it, but for a government to run a sound fiscal policy a lot of things have to be considered that is beyond a businesman like Romeny whatever he might say to the contrary. I am glad that Mr. White is no longer supporting Romney.

    May 15, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Me IN HOUSTON

    Dave SAID
    "Non-Issue. Obama has LOST money because of the decision and Romney has GAINED. That is the bottom line."

    YEAH...Obama campaign raised 9 million dollars THE DAY he announce he was for gay marriage...

    May 15, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. sqeptiq

    The fear that runs rampant through the republican party is so evident here. Fear leads to irrational anger leads to poor decision making.

    May 15, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Michael

    The only reason Obama supports the same sex marriage is becaue it is election year. Why wait til now to say his peace on it, because he will get the gay votes but if he wins, which I hope he does not, his same sex marriage speech will be forgotten.Just like all his other issues he claims to stand for.

    May 15, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. Bing

    You should have been in my large Chuch this weekend which I am sure was no different than many other churhes around the country. It started out with Happy Mothers Day and before I get to my message I want to give you the clear Biblical instructions of marriage. They can have this lousy donor because I can't tell you how many people have told me I voted for Obama last time and will not again due to his gay marriage announcement. Its a gift.

    May 15, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Obama only came out of the closet to collect campaign contributions from gays. They will own him lock stock and barrel. If he is re-elected I'm sure he'll use his new found flexibility to give the Russians and gays everything they have paid for.

    May 15, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. Bing

    I give more away to Chuch and charities than $2500 per quarter. Weak sister donor.

    May 15, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. ray

    any true honest american, any american with a little integrity, a little dignity who votes for this clown, liar, hypocrite, racists , flip flopper romney should be sent to prison for life. this man romney is what we call a serpent in my language.

    May 15, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. DANIEL LISTON

    and how is this news???? Hasn't Obama lost donors as well for other issues he supports??? I don't see them reported to the extent that this is being reported. Show a little balance please.

    May 15, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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