Billionaire conservative David Koch was a delegate to the Republican National Convention, is spending millions to back GOP candidates, but disagrees with his party and presidential nominee on same-sex marriage.
“I believe in gay marriage,” Koch told Ken Vogel of Politico outside a reception in Tampa.
Asked about nominee Mitt Romney’s opposition to marriage equality, Koch replied: “Well, I disagree with that.”
Romney spent much of the Republican primary season trying to appease the religious right on same-sex marriage. He backed the embattled Defense of Marriage Act, said he would support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and appoint like-minded federal judges.
Same-sex marriage: The combatants
Here is a list of major players, national and local, in debate over gay rights and recognition of same-sex marriage.
Cardinal (just elevated) Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, has warned: “We see in our culture a drive to neuter religion,” and has warned that marriage equality and other measures could “precipitate a national confrontation between church and state of enormous proportions.” He heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama announced that he supports same-sex marriage on May 9, 2012, becoming the first U.S. president to do so. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Ex-Sen. Rick Santorum came to the fore as critique of 2003 Supreme Court ruling that tossed out Texas’ anti-sodomy statute, and continues to equate gay marriage with polygamy and bigamy as 2012 presidential candidate. On Monday he railed against gay adoption as “robbing children of something they need, they deserve, they have a right to.” (T.J. Kirkpatrick / Getty Images)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin “Nino” Scalia warned darkly that the Supremes were enacting the “homosexual agenda” in the Texas ruling, and argues that the Constitution cannot be used to justify rights for sexual minorities. (JIM WATSON / AFP/Getty Images)
Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, the key 25th Senate vote for same-sex marriage. (Meryl Schenker)
Dan Savage writes a sex advice column for The Stranger, appears on liberal Cable TV shows, lectures at colleges around the country, is renowned for his foul mouth and has seen his critiques of monogamy used as basis for a New York Times Magazine piece. He has mercilessly baited anti-gay politicians, from religious-right presidential candidate Gary Bauer more than a decade ago to ex-Sen. Rick Santorum in 2012. (Jamie McCarthy / 2011 Getty Images)
“As I’ve thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but in partnership with loved ones,” Retired Gen. Colin Powell told CNN. “And they are as stable a family as my family is. And they raise children. And so I don’t see any reason not to say they should be able to get married.” (AFP/Getty Images)
Vice President Joe Biden says he is “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex and heterosexual married couples both having “the same exact rights.” (Win McNamee / Getty Images)
Gov. Chris Gregoire went through “my own personal journey” in coming to support same-sex marriage. The journey has reinvigorated a two-term governor who confessed last fall to being tired and disheartened. “I feel better than I have in seven years,” she says. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, like Gregoire a practicing Catholic, pushed legalization same-sex marriage through the Empire State’s fractious Legislature last spring. It became signature issue for the newly elected governor, a top Democratic presidential prospect for 2016 (and Al Pacino lookalike). (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)
Ex-U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson was lead counsel for George W. Bush in 2000 election fight, the conservatives’ “go-to” lawyer in Washington, D.C., and is now co-counsel in legal fight to overturn California’s Prop. 8 – the measure that outlawed same-sex marriage. The other co-counsel – David Boies, chief lawyer for Al Gore in Bush v. Gore. (Jason Kempin / Getty Images)
Retired Lt. Col. Grethe Cammermeyer is a best-selling, Whidbey-based author (“Serving in Silence”) who fought 20-year battle against exclusion of gays and lesbians from the military. She is tall, regal, a community leader and canny organizer who helped turn out big crowd who urged State Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano, to support marriage equality. (Associated Press)
Ex-Gov. Mitt Romney, front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, tried to run to the left of Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994, arguing he could be a more effective defender/advocate of gay rights, but now declares opposition to marriage equality. “I oppose same-sex marriage and that has been my view,” he said the other day in New Hampshire. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church, an ex-NFLer, has opposed everything-but-marriage statutes passed by the Washington Legislature, and carried on a long-running feud with The Stranger. (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER)
(Two federal courts have ruled against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which denies spousal and survivor benefits to same-sex partners, and allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in neighboring states.)
The Republicans’ platform contains an endorsement of the Defense of Marriage Act, and defines “marriage as a union of one man and one woman.”
Koch and his brother Charles are expected to channel as much as $400 million into anti-Obama and pro-Republican advertising during the fall campaign. They are behind one of the major “SuperPACs” — Americans for Prosperity — that has been hitting the airwaves for months.
Asked if money is playing too great a role in politics, David Koch replied: “Well, it’s a free society and people can invest what they want..”