Romney donor pulls support, backs Obama, over same-sex marriage
May 14th, 2012
04:48 PM ET
3 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. Sheri Lee

    Another one of Mitts great Bailouts like he did for the auto industry. For sure he will save this country from the economic mess that Bill Clinton and Obama has put us through.

    May 15, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. nolimits3333

    Mittens says "Marriage is between a man and a woman, and another woman, and maybe a couple of underage girls."

    May 15, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. chedar888

    ITs' the thing now. Get the money from the GOP and support Obama. Obama has guts and he stand for what is right.

    May 15, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. Call

    Good riddens. Obama can read him his version of the Bible and take his chump change. Rev Wright can (explaining) it all to him

    May 15, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. chedar888

    Ssssh!The Mormon has a plan. They want Romney who is a Mormon to win the presidency so they can pass a law to legalize polygamy and for you to marry your first cousins and to take underage girls as wife. Isn’t that exciting?

    May 15, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. YBP

    Ancient mythology from the Middle East has no place in modern day American life or politics.

    May 15, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. JT

    The headline here is that an openly gay supporter supported Romney. I'm shocked cnn would run this article lol.

    May 15, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. hemplover

    Thanks for speaking up for gay marriage, President Obama. Now if you would please stand up in support of hemp, a native plant, maybe we would get somewhere.

    May 15, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. Solitaire

    I am surprised that the "Log Cabin Republicans" exist. It's sorta like being a Jewish Nazi. Why would someone actively support a party sworn to destroy you?

    May 15, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Gurgi

    Obama 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 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. AgrippaMT

    Bravo for Mr. White. Romney is obviously dead meat now.

    May 15, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Gurgi

    Let's stop saying this is about "gay marriage" and start calling it what it is – Marriage Equality or Family Equality! Obama is a demon-lunatic member of the left-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.... Mitt Romney 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! Romney 2012

    May 15, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Mike

    Good riddance buddy. Your $ won't be missed and isn't needed by Mitt. You will be shown to be on the downslope of a landslide landing in November 2012.

    May 15, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. EJS

    Am I missing something here – it looks like we are talking about $2,500. Who cares – $2,500 shouldn't get you an article in CNN should it?

    I don't care if the dude is a bi-transgender lesbian, we are talking $2,500 – come on CNN, don't waste our time on such small time news.

    This is ridiculous – focus instead on the corrupt politicians who are milking the system – not a "cheapskate" gay campaign donor. Who cares about his measly $2,500 donation? Not me.

    May 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    Some on the right say the President's actions were calculated political moves, I'd say that's hardly true because several from his base do not agree with him. It was however an act of true courage, to stand up for what you believe, something that Mttens can do until the Tea Baggers tell him just what he believes in this year, this month, this week or even today. I'm still trying to figure out why the GOP feels threatened by what their fellow citizens do in their bedroom. Just why is that?

    May 15, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "I am surprised that the "Log Cabin Republicans" exist. It's sorta like being a Jewish Nazi. Why would someone actively support a party sworn to destroy you?"

    From our friends at Wikipedia:

    "In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is an apparently paradoxical psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.[1][2]"

    May 15, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. Gurgi

    People it is not about Obama's beliefs. It is about voting in the black president. The democrats know what time it is, they just don't like white people period or any other person that is not a minority. 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 white women. Obama is hiding something and does not want us to know until after he is re-elected. Where are the Obama supporters (and ACORN) now? They are not saying a word about this. Why?, Because their only motivation is racist to the core.

    May 15, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "One religious leader, Emmett Burns of Baltimore, supported Obama in 2008 but has now pulled his support."

    Key word: ONE. How long did it take you to dig that ONE up, CNN? Gotta keep that spun narrative alive despite the overwhelming evidence that there's not going to be some sort of black/hispanic siaspora from Obama's camp over this, eh? I mean, what better favor could you do for Deputy Doublethink than perseverate stories like that in order to help suppress minority turnout, right/

    May 15, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "People it is not about Obama's beliefs. It is about voting in the black president. The democrats know what time it is, they just don't like white people period or any other person that is not a minority. 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 white women. Obama is hiding something and does not want us to know until after he is re-elected. Where are the Obama supporters (and ACORN) now? They are not saying a word about this. Why?, Because their only motivation is racist to the core."

    +100...perhaps the absolute craziest mess I've read on the Ticker to date. I almsot have to believe it's snark or I'd have to wonder who let you out of your padded room.

    May 15, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. Gurgi

    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 democrats 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 the republicans. I have never been a great fan of his but the democratic 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 re-electing Obama. 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 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Gurgi

    Blaming Republicans 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 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "Who cares about his measly $2,500 donation? "

    That would be the federal limit for what you can donate and I'll tell you who cares about it: Obama. Mittens can write off and dismiss all the donations he wants along with the people who give them, and I invite him to do so more often. Fact is, this guy is a prominent, successful gay man and his decision to take his money elsewhere is indicative of a larger problem for Mittens in the wake of Obama's announcement. It will be fun watching Mittens and the GOP to figure it out.

    May 15, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. Gurgi

    President Romney won't be able to do anything about the Economy until we the people do something about the obstructionist democratic lead Senate.

    May 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. asdf

    weird...aside from Hillary, the guy picks a lot of winners.

    May 15, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. terry

    ooops, too late.

    May 15, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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