Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Virgil Goode, former US Representative (R-VA), stated the following on his campaign website page "The Issues," available at www.goodeforpresident2012.com (accessed May 14, 2012):
"I believe that marriage should be a union between a man and a woman. I am opposed to gay marriages and so-called gay civil unions. I support the federal Marriage Protection Amendment." May 14, 2012 Virgil Goode
[Editor's Note: In a May 14, 2012 email to ProCon.org, Virgil Goode stated "No" in response to our question "Should gay marriage be legal?"]
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, stated the following in a Dec. 1, 2011 online town hall co-hosted with GOProud:
"As a believer in individual freedom and keeping government out of personal lives, I simply cannot find a legitimate justification for federal laws, such as the Defense of Marriage Act, which 'define' marriage. That definition should be left to religions and individuals – not government. Government's role when it comes to marriage is one of granting benefits and rights to couples who choose to enter into a marriage 'contract'. As I have examined this issue, consulted with folks on all sides, and viewed it through the lens of individual freedom and equal rights, it has become clear to me that denying those rights and benefits to gay couples is discrimination, plain and simple…
[G]overnment's promise should be to insure equal access to those rights to all Americans, gay or straight… Today, I believe we have arrived at a point in history where more and more Americans are viewing it as a question of liberty and freedom. That evolution is important, and the time has come for us to align our marriage laws with the notion that every individual should be treated equally." Dec. 1, 2011 Gary Johnson
[Editor's Note: Prior to Gary Johnson's Pro statement made on Dec. 1, 2011, he expressed a Not Clearly Pro or Con position as indicated below in a June 8, 2011 interview on C-SPAN.]
"Well, I think that government should get out of the marriage business, be in the civil union business, and leave marriages to the churches. So, I would like to think that I am in support of gay rights. Included in those rights would be the ability of gays to be civility united." June 8, 2011 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, made the following statement on May 9, 2012, during an interview with Robin Roberts from ABC's Good Morning America, available at www.abcnews.go.com:
“I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.” May 9, 2012 Barack Obama
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, stated the following in an Oct. 3, 2011 interview with George Stephanopoulus on ABC News, available at www.abcnews.go.com:
"President Obama: That at minimum, that gays and lesbians have strong civil unions that provide the same kinds of protections.
George Stephanopoulos: At minimum?
Obama: At minimum. Stephanopoulos: So you've said your position is evolving. You said you're struggling with it. What more do you need to know?
Obama: Well-- you know-- I probably won't-- make news right now, George. But I-- I think that there's no doubt that-- as I see-- friends, families-- children of gay couples-- who are thriving-- you know, that-- that has an impact on how I think about these issues. It's also one of the reasons that I made the decision for us not to defend-- The Defense of Marriage Act, which-- I believe violated the Constitution. And, you know, is going to be-- decided in the courts probably-- in the next-- next few terms.
Stephanopoulos: You think you'll change your mind before the election?
Obama: You know-- I-- I'm-- I'm-- still working on it." Oct. 3, 2011 Barack Obama
[Editor's Note: Prior to Barack Obama's Not Clearly Pro or Con statement from Oct. 3, 2011, he expressed a Con position as indicated by the statement from Aug. 18, 2008 interview with Reverend Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, available at www.suntimes.com, shown below.]
"I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. For me, as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. You know, God's in the mix." Aug. 18, 2008 Barack Obama
[Editor's Note: Prior to Barack Obama's Con statement from Aug. 18, 2008, he expressed a Pro position as indicated by the statement from a Feb. 15, 1996 questionnaire for Chicago gay and lesbian newspaper Outlines, reprinted in the June 18, 2011 article, "Obama’s Views on Gay Marriage ‘Evolving,'" shown below.]
"I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." Feb. 15, 1996 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following at the Aug. 11, 2011 Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, IA hosted by Fox News, available at FoxNewsInsider.com:
“I believe we should have a federal amendment in the constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and woman, because I believe the ideal place to raise a child is in a home with a mom and a dad.” Aug. 11, 2011 Mitt Romney
Jill Stein, MD, former Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, was quoted in a May 11, 2012 article "Stein Welcomes Obama's New Position on Marriage Equality," available at www.jillstein.org:
"I’m proud that I don’t have to change my position to match the polls. I have supported marriage equality since at least 2002, when I ran for governor. And I’m going to continue to work to eliminate this insidious form of discrimination. President Obama is still enforcing the Defense of Marriage Act - and that has to stop. And the President is saying that its acceptable for individual states to discriminate. I believe that when it comes to basic rights, it’s improper for a President to treat them as local options. The federal government is charged with defending the human rights of all people, no matter which state they live in." May 11, 2012 Jill Stein
Herman Cain, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and Chairman of Godfather's Pizza, stated the following in an Oct. 22, 2011 interview, "Herman Cain Exclusive: Tells Brody File He Will Support Constitutional Amendments on Life and Marriage," available at blogs.cbn.com:
"I think marriage should be protected at the federal level also. I used to believe that it could be just handled by the states but there’s a movement going on to basically take the teeth out of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and that could cause an unraveling, so we do need some protection at the federal level because of that and so yes I would support legislation that would say that it’s between a man and a woman." Oct. 22, 2011 Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, stated the following at a Sep. 30, 2011 campaign event in Iowa, as reported by Jason Clayworth in an article titled "Gingrich: Same-Sex Marriage Is a 'Temporary Aberration,' published in the Des Moines Register on Sep. 30, 2011:
"I believe that marriage is between a man and woman. It has been for all of recorded history and I think this [gay marriage] is a temporary aberration that will dissipate. I think that it is just fundamentally goes against everything we know." Sep. 30, 2011 Newt Gingrich
John Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, stated the following during an Aug. 22, 2011 interview on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, available at piersmorgan.blogs.cnn.com:
"I believe in civil unions. I think we can do a better job in this country as it relates to equality and basic reciprocal beneficiary rights. I'm in favor of traditional marriage, I don't think you can redefine it without getting in trouble, but I think along with that we can have civil unions. I think this country has arrived at a point in time where we can show a little more equality and respect. Leave it to the states, I think it is a state issue that ought to be driven by discussions in various states, and you've got the Defense of Marriage Act that basically is a safeguard that allows that to happen." Aug. 22, 2011 Jon Huntsman
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following in his 2011 book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom:
"I'd like to settle the debate by turning it into a First Amendment Issue: the right of free speech. Everyone can have his or her own definition of what marriage means, and if an agreement or contract is reached by the participants, it will qualify as a civil contract if desired.
The supercharged emotions are on both extremes of the issue, because neither extreme accepts the principles of a free society. One side [anti-gay marriage] is all too willing to have the state use the law to force a narrow definition of marriage on everyone... Those who seek social acceptance of gay marriage are also motivated by the desire to force government and private entities to provide spousal benefits...
I personally identify with the dictionary definition of marriage: 'The social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live together as husband and wife by legal commitments or religious ceremony.' If others who choose a different definition do not impose their standards on anyone else, they have a First Amendment right to their own definition and access to the courts to arbitrate any civil disputes.
There should essentially be no limits to the voluntary definition of marriage." 2011 Ron Paul
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, said the following in a July 28, 2011 interview with Family Research Council PresidentTony Perkins, available at frcblog.com:
"I probably needed to add a few words after that 'it's fine with me,' and that it's fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue. Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn't changed. I believe marriage is a union between one man and one woman…
Indeed, to not pass the federal marriage amendment would impinge on Texas and other states not to have marriage forced upon us by these activist judges and special interest groups." July 28, 2011 Rick Perry
[Editor's Note: Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, stated the following during an Aug. 4, 2011 interview with CBN News titled "Perry 'Comfortable' with Support of Marriage, Abortion Constitutional Amendments": "...[O]ur Founding Fathers also said, 'Listen, if you all in the future think things are so important that you need to change the constitution here's the way you do it'. It takes three quarters of the states deciding that this is important, it goes forward and it becomes an amendment to the United States Constitution.
I support that for issues that are so important, I think, to the soul of this country and to the traditional values which our Founding Fathers, on the issue of traditional marriage I support the federal marriage amendment."]
Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana, was quoted as stating the following in the Oct. 21, 2011 article by Dave Tombers titled "Why Are Mainstream Media Ignoring This GOP Candidate?," available at www.wnd.com:
"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, but I think the states should have the right to define what marriage is in their own state." Oct. 21, 2011 Buddy Roemer
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following during his Oct. 8, 2011 speech at the Value Voters Summit, available at www.time.com:
"You want to have a successful economy, the single thing you can do is to nurture and support the institution of marriage and fathers taking responsibility for their children, building that solid foundation upon which society rests.
And that means standing up and defending the institution of marriage as between one man and one woman – not backing away from it, standing up for it. And there's one candidate in this race who has gone to state after state and helped fight those battles not just for the federal marriage amendment, but understanding that the – the – what the left is trying to accomplish in marriage is what they did with abortion: pick off a few states, get the courts to say, ah, we can't have different laws on the issue such – fundamental as marriage, and then have the courts decide it.
We must fight in every state to make sure that marriage remains between one man and one woman. And as president, I will do that." Oct. 8, 2011 Rick Santorum