May 13th, 2012
11:22 AM ET
9 years ago

Conservative leader: Obama marriage announcement comes at a cost

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage will hurt him in states he captured in 2008, the president of American Values, Gary Bauer, predicted Sunday.

“I think the president this past week took six or seven states he carried in 2008 and put them in play with this ill-conceived position,” Bauer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage on Wednesday after previously saying his opinions on the issue were “evolving.”

However, the conservative leader said Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, should not focus solely on social issues and should instead “explain to the American people why he would be a great president.”

“I think you do that by giving your views on a whole range of issues,” Bauer said. “If he does that he’ll be very successful.”

Bauer appeared on CNN alongside Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who said social issues should not be a “central point” of Romney’s campaign, but said defending the family “should be a priority.”

“I just think he needs to continue talking about all of the issues that are important to evangelical voters, and I think yesterday was a good start,” Perkins said of Romney's commencement address at the Christian Liberty University on Saturday. “He didn’t dance around the issues; he talked about the common values that he shares with the evangelical community.”

The influential social conservative criticized Romney earlier in the presidential cycle for not speaking out strongly enough on social issues and more recently said he should learn from the campaign message of Rick Santorum, who repeatedly invoked such issues during his failed bid White House bid.

On Sunday, Perkins said Obama's statement helped boost Romney's standing with evangelicals, who overwhelmingly support him over the incumbent president, according to recent polling.

“I think the president is what helped Romney this week the most this week with his announcement,” Perkins told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

Yet Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois disagreed, telling CNN the president will not "lose votes that he otherwise hadn't lost" following the marriage declaration.

"I'm not sure the evangelicals were going to lean toward President Obama anyway," Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat, said.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, a swing state that banned same-sex marriage in 2006, predicted the announcement would have little impact in his state, which supported Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

"I think what the president's personal opinion is and how he's wrestled with this is just another example of who he is and the strength of his character," Hickenlooper said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I don't think that's going to affect - have much effect in Colorado."

Turing to vice presidential politics, Perkins and Bauer also offered their suggestions for who should be the former Massachusetts governor's running mate in 2012.

Perkins' pick: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal or former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Bauer's pick: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Also see:Also see

Romney talks faith, pranks in Christian television interview

Romney builds inter-faith bridge in Liberty U commencement address

Santorum to Romney: 'Step up' and use 'potent weapon' of same sex marriage

Poll: Majority approves of Obama's marriage decision

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (468 Responses)
  1. todd in DC

    And yet atheists can get married without any religion. Go figure.

    May 13, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. demrules

    The president just rolled a big mirror into the face of the GOP. They have been complaining about him not being transparent enough, and as soon as he reveal his feelings about equality for ALL U.S. citizens they complain even further. They know that once he spoke his heart that a precedence has now been established for future presidents after him to live up to- and the people of the U.S. will expect nothing less. They fear that this will have a detrimental affect on the GOP, because it could mean they will have an extremely difficult time in future elections across the board.
    These guys wants everyone to think that this nation is Christian when it isn't. It's a nation of people of many different faiths and beliefs. President Obama did not open up the U.S. borders to allow non-christians to come in and practice their beliefs, such as those beliefs of the LDS and polygamy their practices. Neither did president Obama allow the free "evolution" of homosexuality to continue, where it has become an issue and topic for current discussion. As a Christian, I know that men like Perkins have not understood scripture as it is given-although I believe his intentions are honorable. But slavery in America and the ostracization of individuals who were considered to be different, by "well intentioned" religious men, were so-called advocated by biblical principals. We should take counsel of the past failures in the U.S. and treat everyone with respect and equality. We respect non-christian marriages in this country and those couples are afforded the same benefits and christian married couples. Perkins cannot continue to quote the bible and site "biblical" definitions of marriage when he is not telling people who don't acknowledge the bible that they are not married until they get married based on biblical principals and standards. He cannot get it both ways.

    May 13, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. Dave Knows

    I disagree vehemently with Perkins and Bauer. In my opinion, they speak in favor of discrimination, unfairness and bias.

    Obama's statement of personal support for fairness will only help him.

    May 13, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  4. bwise

    Being on the wrong side of history and fighting against civil liberties of minorities are essential conservative values. If it costs Obama the election, so be it. The real losers are Repulican right wingers who have no uderstanding of the needs of a culturally diverse society as ours. Their demise is only a matter of time.

    May 13, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. Bob

    This country should be ashamed of itself, if President Obama's announcement costs him the election. Romney's administration would become the "bigotry presidency."

    May 13, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Instead of following the Repub plans and taking our country and its people back a century or more our presiident is trying to move on and keep our society moving forward. You who complain would do so no matter what he did and that includes the Repubs "in spades". Left to them this country would be without health care.,.decent education.and the poor would continue to be so and the rich would eventually run out of places to put of all their money!!. This president has attempted from the outset to work with the Repubs for the betterment of our people..YOU KNOW HE HAS ANDS THAT HE HA S BEEN TURNED BACK BY THE REPUBS FROM THE VERY BEGINNING.. HE CARES ABOUT ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHICH IS MORE THAT CAN BE SAID FOR THE OTHER SIDE.!!!!

    May 13, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. The Film Professor

    A lot of us disagree with these guys. Fundamental fairness is a winning issue for Obama. The kind of people who would vote against Obama on the basis of this issue are not people who would ever have voted for him anyway.

    May 13, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. not again

    This will definitely hurt him among african american voters that are christians. Maybe they will vote for Romney or more than likely they will not have a good turnout, either way it hurts him. The real issue is that if you say you are a christian and then you say you are for gay marriage and that the gay lifestyle is an admirable lifestyle you seem very fake or even worse a liar. Whether you are for gay marriage or against you have to know the bible is not for it.

    May 13, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Badboy

    "Equality is a CORE American value and promise. Must we sacrifice our freedoms, equality and liberty to make a small but noisy fearful group feel good about themselves? NO. We need to stand up against this Anit-American group before we find ourselves living in one of those countries where the government decides everything for its citizens."

    I agree! The gay community needs to change laws to feel good about themselves. In fact, this is morer about convincing themselves their behavior is appropriate than it is about convincing us. These 3% self identified homosexuals need to recognize that traditional marriage is just that. Tradition. Now, if you want to allow men to marry men, or animals, or have 15 wives or have sex with children. Who cares? Right. It is all about happiness and no responsibility. Obama is pandering to a crowd he already has. Romney on the other hand will definitely pick up votes because of this. Democrats seem to forget recent current events. 2010 elections! Good luck with your "all free govt paid everything" attitude!

    May 13, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    I believe this could cost Romney and the Republicans if they go ugly and nasty with their comments on President Obama's position on the issue.

    May 13, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. Jules

    Iwould hope that the African American community would realize this is every much a civil rights issue as was making it legal for them to marry whomever they wanted. Everyone should have the right to apply for a marriage license to marry ther person of their choice. This really shouldn't have anything to do with churches. Chuirches should follow their own articles of faith and guidelines for administering the sacraments.

    May 13, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. MaryM

    Republicans, YOU LOSE.

    May 13, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. trex

    ...So, when a President does and says things due to HIS CONVICTION, and in unpopular with those that do NOT support him anyway...........where is the loss?...............AU CONTRAIRE.................Obama has shown that HIS CONVICTIONS opposed to Mitt's continual and ever growing FLIP FLOP OF THE DAY..WEEK.....MONTH........YEAR......AND TERM............

    May 13, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. Vader


    This is neither a wedge nor solidifying "issue" for either candidate. With all the REAL problems facing us today, I'm much more interested in their positions taken to address those, rather than this "non-issue" issue.

    May 13, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  15. Tom

    Larry Taylor, etc that act like this is written in the constitution: it's not. It's your interpretation of it. I happen to agree with you, but calling all the people that don't agree with you unAmerican is wrong. By that definition, you're just as unAmerican from their point of view, since you disagree with them. It's called a discussion, that you win with logic and fact, not emotion. When will democrats figure that out? Most people actually aren't so dumb that they just knee-jerk react to your emotional plea. Better to point out why someone's sexual preference isn't a choice. That 6 year olds don't choose to be attracted to the same sex. Point out the idiocy of someone choosing to go through bullying and torment in high school instead of going against their natural-born instincts. Stop being unAmerican, and let both sides speak.

    May 13, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  16. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    Ha! This is actually going to help Obama. Take that, bigots. Some Republican advisors are now advising Romney and others to "evolve" their own stance on this, as the majority of the public is in favor of gay marriage. Of course, if the Repubs do twist around and say something like, "Well, we don't approve, but this is a civil rights issue," then they will look like flip-floppers, after all their ranting and raving. If they continue to oppose gay marriage, they will lose votes with moderates. Either way, this is a win/win situation for Obama. Plus, he did the right thing morally. Obama/Biden 2012!

    May 13, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. ElmerGantry

    Giving someone equal rights does not infringe or take away rights from you.
    It just makes illegal to enforce your prejudice and hate.

    It's really just that simple!

    May 13, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. Chipster

    Bauer and his American Taliban need to get the memo that the purpose of our Constitution is to protect rights for all people. We haven't always gotten it right, frequently violating our own principles. We permitted slavery until citizens finally got the message that they qualified as "people." Women were considered to be property for far too long and not allowed to even vote until the concept of liberty and equality was finally applied. Homosexuals are people. They qualify for equal protection. Churches can continue to ignore that if they want but government cannot. As for the person who claimed that only people who can have children have a right to vote: you're an idiot! Many couples are unable to have children for a number of reasons but there is no law that says infertile people are not allowed to commit to a lifelong relationship with the person they love! Where in the world did anyone get that stupid idea?

    May 13, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  19. Maggie

    My personal life is no ones business but mine! The Republicans spout they want less government but they want the government to tell me who I can marry? Grow up guys!

    May 13, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  20. mark

    Well of course Baur is going to say that,what else would CNN expect of him?

    May 13, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  21. It Will Help Him

    The Republicans so wish to discriminate against others with their prejudice and you're now seeing a fine example of that. The young Matthew Vines says it best at This matter, however, will not adversely affect President Obama in the upcoming election and it shouldn't. Those not predisposed to vote for him would not anyway as has been said time and again. But people who are free thinkers, as many Democrats, Latinos, Independents, Blacks, Religious Leaders, and even some Republicans, those of other races etc. and others are, will see that this is very much a Human Rights issue for people who work hard, pay their taxes to the government, adopt and/or raise their own children, and go to church. Some even become clergy as their heart leads them and as they follow God's call. So, all of this prejudice and discrimination needs to end when good-thinking people stop to see that it will not affect the institution of a man marrying a woman one iota! They will still be able to do that! So, there is no problem there. What it will do is give other minorities the Opportunity to do the same, as God created every Human Being as equal. The conservatives need to be ashamed of themselves for denying others the same rights they currently enjoy! This matter can only Help President Obama in November as people stop to think that he is the President for ALL of the American people, not just a select few in the majority! Obama/Biden 2012!!

    May 13, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  22. John

    Religious bigots will always be against gay marriage, just as racial bigots will always be against any race but their own. By and large, bigots have never been a big part of President Obama's base.

    May 13, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  23. carlyt1

    The right wing wants to drag us into the 15 century again. Time to vote out all right wing hypocrites in 2012.

    May 13, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  24. jimatmadison

    57% of independents support the President's position.

    The same people who hate gay people for who they are already hate the President for who he is.

    May 13, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  25. anotherGDlefty

    Look at that picture.
    Do you trust those men?
    Are they in it to help you or line thier pockets?
    American Values as a company name but not an actual set of american values in the bunch....

    May 13, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
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