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. Joseph Smith

    Jump off the Mitttanic before he sinks

    May 15, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. You heard it worst on CNN

    A CALL TO DEMOCRATS!!! Romney is a low down dirty politician who has proven he will sink to any level to win this presidency. In the Republican coventions this weekend in Arizona and Oklahoma, Romney people have gone so far as to assault the Ron Paul people. There has been numerous incidents. In one such incident, an elderly man (Romney supporter) punched a young woman (Ron Paul supporter) in the back of the head in Oklahoma. We have no room for this kind of conduct in our electoral process and if Paul is defeated in the GOP race, the democrats can expect the same treatment from the Romney people in the general election. The Ron Paul people are looking forward to a peacefull and spectacular contest between Barack Obama and Ron Paul. Can you imagine the debates between Paul and Obama? Help us push this ugly element of our political system out. Let's give America an election to be proud of. Ron Paul vs. Barrack Obama 2012!!! No more hateful politics!!! No more Mitt Romney!!! Get involved!!!

    May 15, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. Dean


    People it is not about Romney's beliefs. It is about voting out the black president.
    -------------------Sorry Lolo. It has nothing to do with Obama being black. It has everything to do with the policies Obama stands for.
    And if you want to discuss race as it pertains to Obama, Obama would not be president if not for the single fact that he is black. His qualifications were way less than that of Palin.

    May 15, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. bry55

    Will CNN also report on donors who pull support from Obama, because of his new position?

    May 15, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. Cindy

    President Obama can't do anything about the Economy until we the people do something about the obstructionist Congress. You people do not get it. President Obama can't fix everything by himself. SMH

    May 15, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Adam

    I guess it would be too anti-gay of CNN to inform the public that women and independents have thrown their support to Romney since Obama came out of the closet.

    May 15, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. John2510

    When did a $2,500 contributor regretting his decision become a newsworthy event?

    This looks more like a media outlet trying to create a false impression about an action and its broader impact.

    May 15, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Outraged

    Well, that shoots two republican myths all to hell – that Obama's stance is a loser for him and that Romney's is a winner for him.


    May 15, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. nurseteacher

    michel, you are so wrong, marriage was between one man and many women. Read history. We are not sure, maybe it was between one woman and many men. But your statement proves you are not a true historian or Christian or you would know.

    May 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Joe Normal

    I changed my vote to Mitt... I'm so tired of gay people trying to be "normal" by stealing marriage! The simple fact is gays are wrong and this is not even at a religious level because I have none. While I disagree with Mitt on almost every other issue gay marriage is a huge issue that is making me change my vote... Whats next America incest marriage?

    May 15, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. Seriously?

    So, Mr. White, you thought our country was "un-hoped" & "un-changed" enough for you to support Romney but now that Obama flip-flopped (yes – he supported gay marriage in '96 and then didn't in '08) on a social issue that shouldn't even be a federal issue and Romney has merely stayed consistent you pull your support? Lame to the max.

    May 15, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. rosaadriana

    Excellent, now if only people would start jumping ship because Romney's economic policy would be a disaster. Seriously more tax cuts for the wealthy and raise taxes on poor and lower middle class so they have "skin" in the game. Ridiculous. And no I am not poor, well compared to Romney I am, my husband and I only make 200K a year.

    May 15, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. KMR

    In fairness, may I trust that PoliticalTicker will also publish incidents of Obama supporters withdrawing their support based on his pro-gay marriage stance?

    May 15, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. Bill

    A gay person who supports gay marriage. Imagine that. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    May 15, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. Gaysarecreepy

    I guess sticking his meat stick in manbutt is more important than the economy. Good for him/her/it whatever.

    May 15, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. Wake up people

    @lolo, you are absolutely right. It's about the POTUS being black and nothing more. These same people voted Bush jr in twice. He ruined our country and put us in 2 unnecessary wars, yet the rethugs were quiet as church mice for 8 years. All they told us was Bin Laden must be killed, yet they didn't even look for him. The very same night President Obama is elected top rethugs get together and sign a pact to make him a one term POTUS. Has ANYTHING like thugs EVER happened before?? No. Have we ever had a Congress that bordered on treason before? No. Yet we are supposed to believe race has nothing to do with it. Yeah right and I'm white.

    And ANYONE that thinks wailin Palin is suited for any job other than shooting moose needs their head examined.

    OBAMA 2012!

    May 15, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Gimmeabreak!

    CNN reporting on Obama supporters pulling out because of gay marriage stance? Never happen in a billion years - but WE will remember!

    Gay or not, I'm proudly voting FOR ROMNEY and adamantly AGAINST OBAMA in 2012!

    May 15, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. Get Real

    Do any of you realize the economy is tied to morality? God will not bless a nation that continually thumbs their nose at Him. Oh, that's right...separation of church and state.

    May 15, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Excitizen

    In fairness, may I trust that PoliticalTicker will also publish incidents of Obama supporters withdrawing their support based on his pro-gay marriage stance?
    YAWN! They've been doing just that every night on the news since he made his announcement!

    May 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. Kevin

    Obama has split his base with this move. Not smart. Not even for the 20-30 million he netted this week. He would have garnered almost the entire gay vote anyway... but now he is losing entire congregations of the religious black vote. Abraham Lincoln once said that you can fool some of the people all of the time. So a lot of these people will vote with Obama even though they oppose this politically motivated move he has made. However, you have to respect those few pastors and reverends like Emmett Burns that have stuck with their religious beliefs even in the face of what must be extreme pressure from their peers.

    May 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. gg

    do you want real jobs or republican jobs the kind they box up when they leave office.real jobs take time

    May 15, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. deeperinfo

    Thinking with his little "head".

    Nothing in Mitt's position has changed.

    White was simply 'playing both sides'... but now he gets his 15 seconds.

    May 15, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. GG

    Mitt Romney didn't change his stance on gay marriage – he feels it is a states rights issue – not a federal government problem. Not sure what this dude's problem is. Also – does gayness trump driving the country into a fiscal ditch? He points out that he does not agree with Obama's fiscal policies – which is also my number one problem with Obama's leftist socialist agenda.

    May 15, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. Grumpster

    Bwaa haaa haaa haa...this is just too funny. Romney is so closed minded and committed to the evangelical nut-jobs, there's just no way he can win.

    May 15, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. duffey

    Pandering to the base by both the President and the presumed GOP nominee. I wouldn't count on any Federal action by either one of them.

    May 15, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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