Tim Michels, a Trump-endorsed GOP candidate for governor, confirmed in an interview with the Associated Press on June 14 that he maintains his opposition to gay marriage, stating plainly that he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman only. While his views on this topic are not new, he made them clear in 2004 when he supported a constitutional amendment that would ban same sex and LGBTQ marriages, he does currently stand alone among his GOP opponents on publicly announcing this view. Many of them, despite going on record in the past against, have now said that they no longer oppose it, and recognize it as the law of the land. This includes former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who is on record in the past disparaging marriage equality legislation, stating that it could result in people marrying pets or inanimate objects. She and another candidate, Kevin Nicholson, now recognize that a majority of Wisconsin voters support marriage equality, and consider the matter closed.
While it is the case that same sex marriages are currently legal in all 50 states, many fear after the decision overturning Roe v. Wade, a case won on the basis of privacy, Obergefell v. Hodges might be next. When asked if he would rescind marriage equality in Wisconsin if elected, Michels dodged the question, answering “as a businessman, what I do is I look at what’s in the legislation, and it’s all about the details. So I am very hesitant to do hypotheticals on a broadly stated question like that.”
Wisconsin Democrats are using this opportunity to discredit Michels, saying that because marriage equality has majority support, he is “too radical for this state.” As we’ve all learned over the past five years, however, “too radical” does not always translate into unelectable, and a Trump endorsement does solidify Michels’ status as a top contender for the nomination.