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

    Haha. Eat your doody sammich and like it, Mittens.

    May 14, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Independent Voter

    More will drop out. M.R. is a horrible candidate.

    May 14, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. kolembo



    I think the Republicans are going tohave to deciede JUST what it is they stand for.

    And hope that America is standing with them!

    May 14, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Romney is not My Hero

    As much as I despise DimWit Mitt, I have to say this is a very small problem. However, if it spreads to all his other supporters and donors, then that would be major news.

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 14, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. sargentpepper

    i don't want to think what obama would have to do to convince all the gays he is sincere, i hope obama wins and all the republicans are voted out of congress. the gop needs a wake up call that we are in the 21st century and the country must move forward in social issues, not back when romney's ancestors used to marry many women.

    May 14, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. Wade

    Hey :American" try getting your news from someplace besides MSNBC. To say that Romney will spend more than Obama just makes you sound like a kool-aid drinking robot. Oh wait, that's is what you are.

    May 14, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. Norma Vessels

    I was tired of the Republican president from 2001 through 2008 messing up my life .. I'm definitely tired of the Republican
    congress trying to mess up my life ... I'm staying solidly with President Obama.

    May 14, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  8. DJ

    One donor pulls away??? I guess this donor has no understanding how the country is being affected financially. The social agenda's are far more important to him. Where one donor pulls away another will take his place.

    May 14, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. The REAL Truth...

    BEND Forward – Mittens DIDN'T change his mind ... well there's a first !!
    Give it a day, it'll flip.. or is it flop this time... hahahhaa

    May 14, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. ted

    Wonder what Willard would do if one of his sons proclaimed he was gay? Would they excommunicate him from Mormonism?

    May 14, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. Thomas

    Romney is a Dinosaur in for a world of change.!

    When is America's first gay president going to come out?

    You said the same thing about woman voteing and civil rights.

    May 14, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. 1twinsfan

    As much as I'd like to day "ha, in your face, Romney!", I know that there will be donors defecting from Obama on this issue. Look, everyone should have the right to be sucsessful in love or not, no matter their orientation.

    May 14, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  13. kate

    This months SALT LAKE CITY MAGAZINE'S cover story,"The Myth of Mitt". Read it!

    May 14, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  14. Janine

    Any LGBT group not supporting this President seems crazy to me. He took a risky stand knowing it could have serious political, but he stood for what is right by the law. Reversal of "Don's Ask Don't Tell" is another example and they'd turn their backs? Sorry, but that's nuts.

    May 14, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. ANOEL2005

    figures.......Any donor who drops Romney and votes for Obama doesn't have kids .

    The DEBT is now $16 trillion and Obama himself raised it $5 trillion in only 3 years.

    May 14, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  16. Jake

    favorite news story ever! if only the 1994 Mitt were running! you chose the wrong side of history this campaign cycle

    May 14, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. Donkey Party

    Wade – you sir, are an ignorant fool. Do a little homework (not on the Fox News site), and you'll find that it's Republicans that are the big spenders, not Democrats. It's ill-informed, under-educated people like you that are ruining America, because you are insanely gullible, and believe every right-wing claim ever made.

    May 14, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. michel

    Let me get this straight. Marriage, for thousands of year, in all places, at all times, was a union between a man and a woman. At no place or time – ever – has it been otherwise. And Mitt is on the 'wrong side of history'? Funny – that is what the Soviets used to say also – comerades.

    May 14, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. The REAL Truth...

    @DJ – depends on the size of the donor doesn't it.... maybe the social agenda is more important to him, maybe not. Maybe its the first of the rats leaving the sinking ship. Maybe he realized that the Grand Obstructionist Party has no platform, no candidate, no values, no compromise and certainly no chance in Nov. More will follow...

    May 14, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  20. Al

    Take that Mittens!

    May 14, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Gay marriage, whatever. The thing for folks to ACCEPT is that Mittens is proposing ALL of the failed Republican policies that got us into this mess in the first place!

    THINK folks, THINK – and then vote Obama/Biden 2012

    May 14, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. Mike in Texas

    To Wade,

    Presidents don't spend, Congress does. If you are referring to what Romney proposes in spending, I have to go with the notion he is going to increase spending and blow bigger holes in the deficit based of that and his tax cut plan. These are the only two specific items he has suggested. He still hasn't said what he will cut to make up for these two deficit increases.

    May 14, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  23. Ann

    Some voters cannot think beyond the end of their noses. Aren't you Americans before being gay, black, women or whatever? Bill White is a joke..

    May 14, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  24. demrules

    Whether Black, White, Asian, Latino, etc., no one person- including the president cannot please more than 300,000,000 people. He stated what was in his own heart realizing the potential cost, but he freed his conscience. This is more than I can say for his predecessors! As a Christian and former pastor, I can truly say that to pull support because of one issue when there are other issues that are favored is a journey that Jesus Christ himself would not venture into. When people tried asking Jesus about State or political issues concerning Caesar, He referred them back to Caesar without providing them any cause for controversy. Pastors should take heed and train their people to pray for those in authority as the Bible so instructs them to.

    May 14, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  25. Core republican Values

    The only way republicans can win is if they lie, mislead, and use ugly tactics. President Obama is an honorable man of integrity. In the end, I believe Democratic integrity will win out over republican hypocrisy.

    May 15, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
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