Heavyweight Republican Donors Oppose Romney on Gay Marriage
Three of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s most prominent donors also contributed heavily to the effort to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, putting them at odds with the candidate on the issue.
Politico reports on the stance of Romney vis-à-vis Paul Singer, Dan Loeb and Cliff Asness, three hedge fund managers who each gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaign to pass marriage equality in the New York state legislature last June. Singer, who has a gay son, has contributed millions to various state-level efforts in the past five years, while he also has helped raise over $1 million for Romney’s campaign and donated $1 million to the candidate’s super PAC.
“The New York moneymen and some other Republican movers-and-shakers — such as former George W. Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman, who came out two years ago and is now raising money from a broad swath of donors to push for gay marriage but who hasn’t made a presidential campaign endorsement — are at odds with Romney, who signed a pledge proffered by the conservative National Organization for Marriage promising to, among other things, support ‘sending a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification,’” write Maggie Haberman and Emily Schultheis.
NOM endorsed Romney on Wednesday, which some interpreted as a sign that social conservatives would coalesce around the former Massachusetts governor after their standard-bearer Rick Santorum left the race on Tuesday. Romney has signed a pledge from NOM to support a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
Republican players interviewed by Politico differed on the extent to which they thought the marriage equality issue could harm Romney, with some saying that Republican donors and the conservative base remain unified in their desire to defeat the economic agenda of President Barack Obama. Others argued that he could be hurt if President Obama announces support for marriage equality before the election, forcing Romney to reckon with the NOM pledge that puts him at odds with the majority of Americans who support marriage equality, according to a series of recent polls.
Politico reports that it remains unclear whether the donors, who declined comment, have approached Romney on the issue. One certain thing is that such donors would encounter a similar problem with another of their favorite prospects, Chris Christie. Singer and Loeb reportedly urged the New Jersey governor to run for president last year, before he vetoed the marriage equality bill that passed his state legislature.