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. Lili

    Pres. Obama iis about doing the right thing, unlike the "christians" bashing his decision to support equality for all people!!!!

    OBAMA/BIDAEN 2012

    May 15, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. Bill, NY

    Now hold the show! What Romney meant to say is that marriage is between one man and ten women.

    May 15, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. PTNY

    Eventually the GOP will all understand that the USA that has fought for "Everyone's" freedom and happiness is not about to let the GOP discrimination train take us backwards.

    Barack H. Obama 2012

    May 15, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. Sy2502

    Seeing bigotry backfire on these people makes me more hopeful about the future of the country.

    May 15, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. UrAverageJoe

    Bill, NY – lolol – that is just wrong!!

    May 15, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. Ron in California

    So this guy jumps ship to support Obama who until Tuesday of last week had the same view as Romney. Obama only chnaged his position to pander and raise funds ..It seems to have worked. That sucks.

    May 15, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Morgan Hill

    Mit R is not the man for the highest office. He lies, he's arrogant, he hates America, he has proven his hate for the U.S. by putting his money in other countries' banks, he hates women, and all other minority groups. This guy represents ONLY the RICH. Wake up people, this man is completely out of touch.

    May 15, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. wonderabout

    Let's stop saying this is about "gay marriage" and start calling it what it is – Marriage Equality or Family Equality! Romney is a demon-lunatic member of the right-wing fringe dressed in a suit with good hair.... the lemmings are being led off the cliff by people who care little or nothing about anyone but themselves and those who, by their suffering and toil can make them richer and more powerful.... President Obama showed he is an intelligent and fair human being and we, those who are for human and civil rights across the board, are even more energized! Thank you! Obama/Biden 2012

    May 15, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Brian

    If you are basing your decision for who to support as President of the Unites States of America based on one social issue, which the Federal goverment has zero say on anyway, then you are an idiot.

    May 15, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. kls

    I'll be happy to take up the slack that White's request will make..Gay marriage is an oxymoron..

    May 15, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. Silver

    Marriage is between you, your loved one and GOD. Not something the government has a right to vote on or tell us who Marriage is between you, your loved one and GOD. Not something the government has a right to vote on or tell us who we can and can't marry. The only law that the government should pass is that if you own property with someone and have been with them for over a year – then they are considered family as long as you are together. This should give them the same rights as a spouse without forcing the issue on church goers who do not approve of that life style. My husband and I have been together for 10 years. I do not believe in the government’s marriage laws. We are married in the eyes of the Great Mystery and do not need a piece of paper from the government to prove our love for one another. My Company considers him my Domestic Partner and he receives health benefits from my insurance. That is how it should be for all of us. Get the government out of our love lives please!

    May 15, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Mark

    How many people jump ship on both sides? This is a minor story, minor donor and CNN makes a big deal out of it. Bias, bias, bias...

    May 15, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Silver

    Marriage is between you, your loved one and GOD. Not something the government has a right to vote on or tell us who we can and can't marry. The only law that the government should pass is that if you own property with someone and have been with them for over a year – then they are considered family as long as you are together. This should give them the same rights as a spouse without forcing the issue on church goers who do not approve of that life style. My husband and I have been together for 10 years. I do not believe in the government’s marriage laws. We are married in the eyes of the Great Mystery and do not need a piece of paper from the government to prove our love for one another. My Company considers him my Domestic Partner and he receives health benefits from my insurance. That is how it should be for all of us. Get the government out of our love lives please!

    May 15, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Phil in KC

    While I'm glad to hear about this gentleman's 'defection', I suspect it is and will be very rare – in either direction. The fact is that most of the people for whom this is an important factor have already made up their minds to support one candidate or the other. If they are for gay marriage, they were probably already in the Obama camp. If they were strenuously opposed, they were probably already in the Romney camp. About the only impact I can see is in the highly religious black community. They are probably having some real heartburn over this.

    May 15, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  15. Patriot Awesome

    Government should stay out of the marriage business, period.

    May 15, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. garc

    Oops! Since the current crop of repubs have proven they will say literally anything if it will get them money, maybe the withdrawal of money will cause a couple of them to rethink the bigotry. Maybe. Well, not the far-out whack-jobs like santorum, but the semi-sane ones.

    May 15, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Loop

    Wow, Bill White is selfish. He only cares about himself. Not the 300 Million Americans who now have Grandkids that need to pay for the POTUS's excessive spending. Where did the $3 Trillion dollars go? Have any of you seen it? I know I haven't. As a matter of fact I lost my good paying job because of Obama and his regulations and demonization of business. You all can call Romney a flip flopper, but take a look at our POTUS. It is not flip flopping, it is evolving. Now that's funny. Now go back to 2007 when Obama was a Jr Senator and he said we need to bring the defecit down. Is that veiw evolving too? I think not. Wake up America before this POTUS ruins our country for good. Obama is a Socialist. Are You? Biden only has half a brain, Walter Reed has the other half. Geithner is an idiot. The AG is a criminal. Pelosi has made more money as a Representative than any of us could hope to make in a lifetime. She too is a criminal. WAKE UP AMERICA.... Obama is the most devisive POTUS in history and everything he and his cronies do is timed to maximize their benefit not ours. Who do they work for? I'm guessing themselves.

    May 15, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. PTNY

    Brian,

    I support Barack Obama for far more than one social issue.
    Being the President of this country encompasses world affairs, security, economy, social...far more and deeper issues than MRomney can ever deal with. I'm sure he's a nice guy but just doesn't seem to have a complete grasp of everything for some reason. Looking back at his repeated ten years of failures of becoming president only cements my feelings more.

    May 15, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. ode

    freakin' close-minded Christians. Seems to me, they always forget the judge not part of their Bibles.

    May 15, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Romney campaign officially toast, says Walter Cronkite

    The 2012 presidential race was over the day that the world found out about Mitt's gay bashing assault on former classmate John Laubner. From this day forward, any gays that continue supporting the GOP are officially labelled as stupid...

    May 15, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. indyreader

    Romney talks out of both sides of his face. In one place, he says he supports equality. Then, in another place, he says he does NOT support even civil unions if they differ from marriage in name only – that is, he does not support the details of actual, civil, legal equality.
    Does he think that none of us get it? These two statements are logically inconsistent – he can't really mean both of them. He's not trustworthy, nor is he a leader.

    May 15, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. MaggiesMessage

    He jumped ship over a gay issue???? REALLY? When are people going to get concerned about the workings of a government instead of a personal issue? What an Idiot! Give me Liberty or Give me Death.....and as my liberties are being taken away by the Obama Administration, I feel 4 more years will probably give me Death if you factor in my age.

    I BEG OF YOU YOUNG PEOPLE TO WAKE UP! You are the only hope YOU have.........I grieve for my grandchildren.

    May 15, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. snowdogg

    "This is a minor story, minor donor and CNN makes a big deal out of it. Bias, bias, bias..."

    You should check FOX News where there is NO bias in the "reporting".

    May 15, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. Luke,AZ

    We are watching the results of President Obama's leadership. I doubt that he was worried about how many votes he would gain or lose. It was the right thing to do. President Obama's leadership skills are truly amazing.

    May 15, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. Bigereads

    In about two weeks, Romoney will change his position on gay marriage and claim he was the one who sanctioned it. Just watch. Romoney doesn't hold any position for too long and watches how the wind blows The Rep/Teabaggers whine about losing "their" freedom while they are actually active in trying to take away other people's freedom. Why do they all want to look into a woman's private parts? Why are they so intent on finding out who is in our bedrooms and what we are doing? Why do they claim to be Christians when they live their lives completely in reverse of God's words of loving one another as He loves us? They think they can stop progress, but they cannot and will not. They couldn't stop the bomb, their phony wars for oil, their fake stance against latinos, unless those latinos come under their "wet foot dry foot" laws. Mexicans they hate, but Cubans are okay. Romoney and his supporters will back anyone who sells his soul to them and their religious cults.

    May 15, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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