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Gov. Scott Walker speaks in Nashua, N.H., on Saturday. (Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he attended the wedding reception of a gay family member despite his belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Speaking in New Hampshire on Saturday night, Walker, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, was asked if he would be willing to attend a gay wedding.
“That’s certainly a personal issue,” he replied. “For a family member, Tonette and I and our family have already had a family member who’s had a reception. I haven’t been at a wedding. That’s true even though my position on marriage is still that it’s defined between a man and a woman, and I support the constitution of the state. But for someone I love, we’ve been at a reception.”
In 2014, a federal judge overturned Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Walker’s comments are similar to those of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who last week said he would attend the wedding of a same-sex couple if it involved “somebody in my life that I care for.”
“I’m not going to hurt them simply because I disagree with a choice they’ve made or because I disagree with a decision they’ve made, or whatever it may be,” Rubio said in an interview with Fusion TV. “Ultimately, if someone that you care for and is part of your family has decided to move in one direction or another or feels that way because of who they love, you respect that because you love them.”
According to MSNBC, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz dodged a similar question last week, saying he had not “faced that circumstance” of being invited to attend the same-sex marriage of a family member.
Gay marriage figures to be an issue in 2016, particularly if potential Republican hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson enter the race.
In February, Huckabee, compared homosexuality to drinking and swearing — a lifestyle choice that he disagrees with but can accept despite his religious convictions.
“People can be my friends who have lifestyles that are not necessarily my lifestyle,” the former Arkansas governor said on CNN. “I don’t shut people out of my circle or out of my life because they have a different point of view. I don’t drink alcohol, but gosh — a lot of my friends, maybe most of them, do. You know, I don’t use profanity, but believe me, I’ve got a lot of friends who do. Some people really like classical music and ballet and opera — it’s not my cup of tea.”
Still, there’s no chance Huckabee will ever accept gay marriage — whether he runs for president or not.
“This is not just a political issue,” he said. “It is a biblical issue. And as a biblical issue — unless I get a new version of the scriptures — it’s really not my place to say, ‘OK, I’m just going to evolve.’”
Asking a Christian to accept same-sex marriage, Huckabee added, is “like asking someone who’s Jewish to start serving bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli.”
Last month, Carson said he also believes homosexuality is a choice — and pointed to prison as proof.
“A lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight,” Carson said on CNN. “And when they come out, they’re gay. So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate, later apologized for the comments.
“I realized that my choice of language does not reflect fully my heart on gay issues,” Carson said in a statement posted to his Facebook page. “I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive. For that I apologize unreservedly to all that were offended.”
Those in the GOP who oppose recognizing gay marriage are at odds with the majority of the country. A Gallup Poll conducted last year found that 55 percent of Americans support recognizing same-sex marriages as legally valid.
(Cover tile photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters)