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. Lolo

    People it is not about Romney's beliefs. It is about voting out the black president. The republicans know what time it is, they just don't like black people period or any other minority that is not pure white. They are reving up now to steal the votes. Just like they have done in years past, they lie, cheat and steal everything they put their hands on. It just shows the rest of the world how stupid they are to put the same people back into the white house to ruin America again. Putting out lies that we are jealous of their wealth. Trust me with the problems that they have I do not need or want their wealth. I just want my fair chance to survive without a lot of stress and it does not take a lot of money to do that. Before the haters say the wrong thing, I have worked since I was out of high school and am still working , so I am not a welfare queen as they love to call black women. They need to be checking on Mittens accounts in the Cayman and his tax returns. This man is hiding something and does not want us to know until after he is elected. Where are the tea party people now? They are not saying a word about this. Why?, Because their only motivation is racist to the core.

    May 15, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. WhereIsPalin

    Electing a president is bigger than any ONE issue. Poor choice on the part of Mr White.

    May 15, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. Smokey

    I lost my job as Bush was leaving and was able to get a new job under Obama!

    May 15, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Ferret Out The BS

    Bye Bye Maggie

    May 15, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. Penobscot

    I just wonder when Mr. Obama is going to start doing something to fix the economy instead of pandering to gays and spending trillions we don't have? Obama is the worst President in my lifetime, by far. Terrible. And it really has nothing to do with gay marriage.

    May 15, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. namethename

    Just the PR campaign vy the Obama people. Oh, and Mr. White is an Obama person.
    That is how this article should read "Obama person supports Obama"

    May 15, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. Tom

    I wasn't going to put any money into this election but now I'm going to throw a few grand at Obama. Supporting equal rights for all American's is supporting freedom and something my wife and I can get behind. Not just for ourselves, or our love for America, but for our fellow American's who live their life differently than us but deserve their rights.

    May 15, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. Person of Interest

    Wait, you're actually saying there are gay Republicans? That's like being drunk and going to a MADD meeting: you're there but nobody really likes you.

    May 15, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. rs

    Obama 2012- You mean the way the GOP is "owned" by Grover Norquist and his merry band of anti-tax lunatics?

    May 15, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. Jason

    OK by me

    May 15, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. JC in Western U.S.

    Your religion tells YOU who to marry, and may tell YOU what words and rites to use for your marriage to be recognized by your religion. How would you feel if somebody told you that the only way you could be really married was to be married in a Mormon temple? Yeah, I thought that might make you sit up and take notice. You don't want somebody else's religious belief determining how (or to whom) you are married. That's a two way street. Other people don't want your religion determining their marriage decisions either.

    So don't be in too much of a hurry to say that marriage is determined by any particular set of religious beliefs, or else you may just find yourself in a situation someday where your marriage vows are overturned because some other group of people speaking for God thinks they have the right to tell you to whom and how you can be legally married. You too might be told one day that someone else's marriage practices are the ONLY marriages approved by God.

    May 15, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. SlowGun

    It will all work out. Once Romney changes his mind on this issue (which will be the third time) then the donor will give me back his support.

    May 15, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. Ambrose Smith

    I am sending some dough to Obama. None to the Etch A Sketchin' flake Romney. He is as phony as a 3 dollar bill.

    May 15, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. Left2right

    Whole bunch of whiners on here sniveling about nothing and claiming the victim card. I don't care about his religion; he's right.

    May 15, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. noel

    It won't matter how much money obongo wastes. When the summer is over. we will have double digit unemployment and 20% + inflation. Mr.
    change is TOAST!!!
    OBAMANOS...and good riddance...

    May 15, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. SlowGun

    @Penobscot

    I just wonder when Mr. Obama is going to start doing something to fix the economy instead of pandering to gays and spending trillions we don't have? Obama is the worst President in my lifetime, by far. Terrible. And it really has nothing to do with gay marriage.

    Penobscot, please review the fact from some other source than fox news.
    Look and see if things and better then they were when bush left office, and you see that they are. Even Mitt had to admit it.

    Stock market was in free fail, it is now over 12 and approach 13.
    Unemployment is lower then Bush left it.
    The banks were on verge of colapsing and taking our economy with it. People were losing their retirement savings on a daily basis. Thebanks are now stable. The auot industry was going bankrupt and would take over 150,000 jobs with it. They are now recording some of their best profit months. Things are better than they were when bush took office, and it has only been three years. Every economist predicted it would take 5 to 8 years to turn things around.
    Things are moving in the right direction. But Obama isn't a witch from Delaware. He can't just wave a magic wand and fix everything.

    May 15, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. Ambrose Smith

    Any gay person who supports the GOP is obviously more interested in protecting their own money than being treated equally. Priority out of whack.

    May 15, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. Margo

    We most definitely have problems in this country but I don't think we should lose sight of what our country is...the land of the free, which the republicans are trying to take away from us. The middle class will be gone, women's rights will be challenged and do you really think they can pull jobs out of the proverbial hat. No body can do that, wall street and the banks have a financial strangle hold on the average american, they are the ones to blame, not Obama. I have never been a great fan of his but the republican field is a real disappointment and they should be ashamed of themselves and their backhanded tactics. They don't care about us, all they care about is making Obama a one term president. Nothing more...they have nothing ot offer but poverty to the masses and more riches to themselves...and thier self righteous noses in everyone's business.

    May 15, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. John

    Romney missed a real opportunity here. If he came out and said he agreed with Obama he may have taken all of the Hillary supporters away from him. Instead he panders to a group he already has the support of. He just keeps making stupid mistakes which is not a good thing for a president.

    May 15, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. Larry L

    Blaming President for our economy is like blaming the fire department for the water bill after they put out the fire in your home – started by your children playing with matches.

    May 15, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Paul Ernest Show

    America does not know what it's getting. I have searched my heart and soul. Looked at Romney intensively and I just can't trust him. The GOP has many men and women who I would even vouch for their integrity, because they have track records
    of consistency, but Romney, something disturbing about him

    May 15, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. Joseph Smith

    It was all Romney's idea to legalize gay marriage...oh wait, that's in 2 weeks. DELETE, DELETE...

    May 15, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Gays-for-da-Liar

    If you are true Lying Gay, you'll vote for Romney..

    May 15, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. Luke Brown

    not really news

    May 15, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. Republicans can't not be hypocrites

    Oh please. He supported Bush TWICE and yet he's not supporting Romney? He doesn't like the fiscal policy of Obama, but he liked "Let's Start a Needless War that'll cost over 2 TRILLION dollars Bush"? He CLAIMS that he listened to Romney say he didn't support SSM " saying something I didn't think he would be saying." REALLY? Cuz that's what he's ALWAYS been saying!

    Hey, I'm glad the guy is taking $ away from Romney and giving support to Obama, but let's face it – this guy is confused as hell – which is par for the course for ANY Gay Republican. Hell, for ANY Republican, for that matter!

    May 15, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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