Fred Karger
Fred Karger Ends Campaign But Refuses to Endorse Romney

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on Advocate.com June 29 2012 6:47 PM ET

Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger, who is gay, ended his campaign officially on Thursday but it doesn't look like he'll be endorsing Mitt Romney anytime soon.

"It is hard to endorse a candidate for president who signed the hateful 'Marriage Pledge' sponsored by known hate group the National Organization for Marriage," Karger told The Advocate.

Karger says he is "going to hold off for a while on the endorsement front." That puts him in line with the Log Cabin Republicans, who have so far also not issued an endorsement in the presidential race.

GOProud, a group for gay conservatives, was the subject of attacks from Dan Savage, columnist Michael Musto and others after it endorsed Romney. The former Massachusetts governor signed a pledge from NOM in which he promised to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage. It also required him to back repealing marriage laws in the District of Columbia, and Romney promised to launch a presidential commission to investigate NOM's opponents for harassment.

As the first openly gay candidate for president to have his name appear on the ballot in several states, Karger was often vocal about the need for marriage equality and an end to discrimination in the workplace. He never accomplished his goal of getting into a Republican debate; instead, he was forced to file complaints with the Federal Election Commission after being left out.

And while Karger, a political strategist by trade, has a list of positions on everything from the economy to the war in Afghanistan, it was his advocacy for LGBT rights that often took precedence. His fight with NOM is just one part of that.

"I have asked Gov. Romney repeatedly to disavow this pledge and any association with NOM, an organization that is under investigation for money laundering $1.9 million in Maine and under investigation in California for hiding $340,000 in Prop 8 funds including $10,000 from Romney," said Karger, who hasn't gotten a public response from the campaign.

In his last act as a presidential candidate, Karger's campaign released a video in Utah aimed at the Mormon Church — another frequent target of Karger's complaints. Before becoming a candidate, Karger successfully complained about imporpriety in the church's financing of a pro-Proposition 8 campaign in California and the church was later fined.

Watch the new video below.