Team Romney vs. Team Obama on same-sex marriage
May 8th, 2012
10:32 AM ET
11 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. george of the jungle

    so where does romney stand?? Or does he want multiple marriages like his grandpa?

    May 8, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |

    Willard had a gay staffer on his campaign and didn't do anything about it when the poor man was forced to resign. That shows no backbone. Whereas on the other hand, the President has addressed concerns of the LGBT community by repealing DADT and not standing behind the DOMA.

    May 8, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. PJ/TX

    "Well, I think the American people deserve to know where" Mitt Romney stands on any issue. All we know for
    sure is that he has no backbone, would depend on the State Department for his foreign policy and would allow
    Norquist/Ryan to write his fiscal policy. He is certainly not a leader.

    May 8, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. Al-NY,NY

    Hey failed as a governer so now you chime in on a subject that, according to the GOP talking heads is not relevant. All I hear is "where are the jobs? Talk about the economy""this is not an important subject" Well, you can bet it will be now as the sheepherders and their flocks of mindless drones will now be screaming about it while going against their own aim. (Economy/job/etc). So which is it GOP??? All economy and jobs all the time? Or those subjects with social issues included? decide and then shut up

    May 8, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. lreed580

    And Romney's position on gay marriage/the GOP in general?

    May 8, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. BLKMANinAmerica where does the repuk party tell Romney he "stands" on the issue? What a 2-faced, where on earth does this yo-yo stand? He never did say you know.

    May 8, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Ivan Bial

    The republican strategy is simple, don't address the big issues stress the issues that divide us.
    Stress issues that scare there base.
    Fear is a weapon the republicans know how to us.
    When you have no solutions use fear.

    May 8, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. Drew

    "President Obama on the other hand is looking to have both sides,"

    Now that is absolutely HILARIOUS coming from a "Romney Backer"

    May 8, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. carly

    WOW: "Either you're for something or you're against it," is there any better denouncement of Romney on every issue than that statement. Pataki should think twice before invoking this nonsense about Obama. There is no better description of Romney than this one.

    May 8, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. george of the jungle

    while repos are trying to bash Obama mitt is out taking credit for saving the auto industry. What is so funny no repos commented. The usual wingnuts,jerry,howard and the like where all silent. Tounge tied repos, by this totally idiotic statement from your flip flop leader? They are to worried about peoples marriages to worry about the economy. Git a grip Lots of mormons still have more than one wife. I guess thats ok. Obama 2012

    May 8, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. Castillo

    If Obama told us what he really thought about things he would have never been elected in the first place. It would be funny if was not so repugnant.

    May 8, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. Ol' Yeller

    Who woke Pataki up?
    I must disagree with Pataki on his statement, "Either you're for something or you're against it." Romney has proven time and again that you can be for something AND against it., He has changed sides 180 degrees on every major issue there is. I'd much rather hear someone say they are torn on an issue and are having trouble deciding what course to take, than someone whose principals are determined solely by the audience to whom they are speaking.

    May 8, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. Bill, NY

    Thats why we called him wacky Pataki!

    May 8, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    This is the SAME Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney who FIRED a GAY employee & campaign spokesman just 2 weeks after he was hired just because MITT did NOT have the BACKBONE to stand up to his own party and ANTI-GAY WingNUTs in the Republican Tea Party!!!!

    Where is Mitt Romney on GAY issues?....first he was for gay rights, then FLIP FLOPPED to being anti GAY and parroting GW Bush talking point!.....Etch-a-Sketch Mitt waffles so much he can't even remember what he said day in day out!!!!

    May 8, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Steve from CT

    Willis "LOSE THE SKIRT"? that kind of tone is a bit sexist. There are too many strong women out there. Perhaps if Mitt wore one, he would have some convictions

    May 8, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. Lili

    There he goes AGAIN!!!!

    May 8, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    "Either you're for something or you're against it,"

    You cannot get anymore divisive than that. Whatever happened to compromise? Republicans obviously do want compromise. "My way, or the highway." Look at the purges that the Tea Party is carrying out among congressional Republicans. It looks like Pataki figured out that he since he cannot be them, he might as well join them. "Either you're for something or you're against it,"

    May 8, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    "Either you're for something or you're against it,"

    You cannot get anymore divisive than that. Whatever happened to compromise? Republicans obviously do want compromise.
    Oh really? Sorry, Rudy... if you don't take a stand on an issue, it makes you indecisive – not exactly a good character trait for a POTUS. Think about it like voting "present".

    May 8, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. cali girl

    It is evolving, it was against the law now many states are bringing it to fruition. If Obama is evolving, then that is not flipping. Let's say abortion, which is legal in this country. One day you support it, the next you don't. But it is still legal.
    Gay marriage is not legal everywhere. And as it evolves it will become legal.

    May 8, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. carrotroot

    Actions speak louder than words, even-though the President might not articulate his stance for political reasons, it is clear through his actions that he fully supports gay rights.

    May 8, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  21. Yo

    Yo Steve I call em like I see em. Bishop Pinocchio & his gimmie a kiss interviews from Gretta aint cuttin it. In Fact I think gretta bought Mitt a pink skirt.

    May 8, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. Robert Postuma

    Hillary, most definitely.
    Biden- No-why do they need a dummy on the ticket?

    May 8, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Oh really? Sorry, Rudy... if you don't take a stand on an issue, it makes you indecisive
    That is exactly the divisive rhetoric that I am talking about. You jumped in with both feet. Taking a *stand* on a position is a very different mind set from taking a *position*. A *position* is flexible, malleable, and can be modified to suit circumstance. A *stand* is firm, rigid and unyielding, and it cannot be modified to suit circumstances.

    The tree that bends in the wind survies longer than the one that does not.

    May 8, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    "you're either FOR it or AGANIST it" unless of course you're Mitt Romney where you can be for it one week then against it the next depends on what his base supports at that time.

    May 8, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Oh really? Sorry, Rudy... if you don't take a stand on an issue, it makes you indecisive"

    And if he "takes a stand" you'll just say that's "being divisive." Grow the eff up.

    May 8, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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