After gay marriage shift, high profile Romney backer switches to Obama
An openly gay, big-dollar donor to Mitt Romney’s campaign is asking for his money back after Vice President Joe Biden – followed by President Barack Obama – embraced gay marriage, the New York consultant told Reuters on Monday.
“When I heard Biden say he was comfortable with men marrying men I almost fell off my chair,” said Bill White, 42, a registered independent who has supported politicians across the political spectrum, including both President Bushes and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and who maxed out during the Republican primary for Romney, the former Massachusetts Governor.
“These guys are on the right side of history,” said White, who was married to Joseph Bryan Eure in October 2011, a wedding that was officiated by David Boies, a lawyer who defended gay marriage equality in California, and attended by — disclaimer — Thomson Reuters senior executives. Soul singer Aretha Franklin performed at the wedding, the first legal gay marriage ceremony at the Four Seasons hotel, the New York Daily News reported.
White initially backed Romney because the wealthy former private equity executive’s worry over America’s fiscal woes and his plans to rein in spending matched his own, White said.
“I was going to vote for Romney because I think he will be a guy who will have more fiscal control,” said White, who planned to donate more to Romney and had pushed his friends to cut checks to Romney, who has not yet refunded his money. White said he has not yet given to Obama this cycle, either.
The change came after the White House’s shift and Romney took to the stage of evangelical bastion Liberty University and said during a commencement speech that “marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.” White said seeing Romney make that speech made him worry over a possible constitutional amendment defining marriage.
Public support for same-sex marriage is evolving: half of Americans believe same-sex couples should have the same right to wed as heterosexuals do, slightly down from a year ago but marking the second year that a majority of Americans have supported same-sex marriage. Six states, plus the District of Columbia, have extended marriage rights to gay couples. Twenty-eight states ban such marriages.
Ultimately, the personal trumped the fiscal, said White, a New York native who served as president of a museum there from 2005 to 2010 and is now Chairman and CEO of Constellations Group, a multifaceted consultancy.
“I am not an activist. I am a registered independent voter and a fairly conservative guy. But I am married and that’s that. You should be able to marry who you love.”