Tales from the Trail

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.

“Mitt Gets Worse” on gay rights, pro-Obama video alleges

Pro-Obama super PAC American Bridge has released a new web video outlining Mitt Romney’s various, and potentially incendiary, comments on a spectrum of gay-rights issues — marriage, child rearing, bullying — at different moments in his political career. “The more we learn about Mitt Romney’s attitude toward LGBT people, the worse it gets,” the ad declares.

The video — titled “Mitt Gets Worse,” presumably a play on the “It Gets Better” video project for LGBT youth — shows the presidential candidate repeatedly disavowing same-sex marriage, first as governor of Massachusetts (“Marriage in one state affects all of the states and therefore we have to have a federal standard that says marriage in this country is a relationship between one man and one woman,” he tells an audience) and, later, as a presidential candidate (“Calling it marriage creates a whole host of problems…three thousand years of human history shouldn’t be discarded so quickly”).

Romney’s concerns about the impact of same-sex marriage on “the development of children” are also highlighted: “The consequences of gay marriage fall far beyond just the relationship between a man and woman — they also relate to our kids,” he’s shown saying in one clip. “The development of a child in the history of civilization has been enhanced by the opportunity to learn from the gender characteristics of a mother and a father,” he says in another, although he doesn’t specify which “gender characteristics” he means.

Clinton to gay youth: “hang in there”

Hillary Clinton has joined a growing list of celebrities and politicians reaching out to gay, lesbian and transgender youth following a rash of suicides prompted by bullying. USA/

“I have a message for all the young people out there who are being bullied, or who feel alone and find it hard to imagine a better future:  First of all, hang in there and ask for help,” Clinton said in a video message available on YouTube.

“So take heart, and have hope, and please remember that your life is valuable, and that you are not alone.  Many people are standing with you and sending you their thoughts, their prayers and their strength.  Count me among them.”

Obama woos frustrated gay activists at White House party

If Barack Obama and the gay community have strained relations, an elegant reception in the White House East Room to celebrate LGBT Pride Month was a good way to start mending fences — at least for now.Pride Reception

“Welcome to your White House,” Obama told an enthusiastic crowd of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people on Monday before launching into a summary of his administration’s accomplishments on their causes.

Notable exception: Obama’s pledge to repeal the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has not been met.

Obama inauguration pastor choice: war or peace?

NEWYORK-SUMMIT/CLINTONPresident-elect Barack Obama is seeking peace at his inauguration, but gay and lesbians see his choice of pastor as a nakedly political continuation of war.

“It is important for America to come together, even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues,” the prez-elect said, defending his choice of Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren — a same-sex marriage opponent. Obama said he personally would continue be a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans.

Equality California chief Geoff Kors said the decision amounted to choosing someone who ‘declared war on one minority community’.

Inside the Tent: What the Log Cabin Republicans think of Palin

Jimmy LaSalvia, director of programs and policy for the Log Cabin Republicans, talks about what Sarah Palin’s presence on the Republican ticket will mean for gay rights and where she stands on issues like same-sex partnership benefits.

Palin’s stance on same-sex partnerships is not entirely clear. The New York Times reported this weekend:

Ms. Palin said she supported Alaska’s decision to amend its Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. But she used her first veto as governor to block a bill that would have prohibited the state from granting health benefits to same-sex partners of public employees. Ms. Palin said she vetoed the bill because it was unconstitutional, but raised the possibility of amending the state Constitution so the ban could pass muster.