MADISON, Wis. – Donald Trump’s radical candidate for governor, Tim Michels, is doubling down on his 2004 opposition to same-sex marriage, telling the Associated Press that his position is that “marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
In an interview with the AP, Michels also refused to answer questions on whether he would restrict the rights of LGBTQ+ Wisconsinites.
In his run for U.S. Senate in 2004, Michels advocated for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and made inflammatory comments regarding marriage equality, including that he doesn’t believe LGTBQ+ people should “bring it out of [the] house.” [45:04]
Support for marriage equality in Wisconsin is overwhelming, with 72% of Wisconsinites in favor in an April 2022 Marquette Law School poll, including 58% of Republicans.
See more below on Michels standing by his 2004 opposition to marriage equality and his failure to answer on whether he’d restrict LGBTQ+ rights.
Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate for Wisconsin governor is standing by his opposition to same-sex marriage, telling The Associated Press that he believes “marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
Tim Michels, co-owner of Michels Corp. construction company, is one of four Republicans running for a chance to take on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in November and this month won the former president’s endorsement. Michels spoke with the AP on Tuesday about the race.
His views on same-sex marriage have been in question after he made comments in his U.S. Senate race in 2004 when he backed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. He did not comment when asked earlier this month what he thought of Evers raising a rainbow flag over the state Capitol to celebrate Pride Month.
“My position that is that marriage should be between a man and a woman,” Michels said when asked about it Tuesday.
When asked if he would take steps as governor to limit the rights of gay people, Michels said: “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.”
But Michels said he would win the support of LGBTQ voters because “they know that I’m going to bring proper, proven executive leadership to the governor’s office.”
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Wisconsin since Oct. 6, 2014, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court’s ruling finding the state ban to be unconstitutional. The next day, officials across the state began issuing marriage licenses. Eight months later, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage.
Since the leak of a draft opinion alluded to the Supreme Court potentially overturning abortion rights, concerns have grown over whether justices could next move to reverse other decisions that rely on the “right to privacy” that the court outlined in the Roe v. Wade decision nearly 50 years ago. One of those is the 2015 ruling that struck down state bans on same-sex marriage.
Wisconsin Democratic Party spokeswoman Hannah Menchhoff said Michels “is once again staking out the most radical position on gay marriage.” She pointed to polls that show a majority of Wisconsin residents support same-sex marriage, saying that Michels is “too radical for Wisconsin.”
Evers’ campaign responded to Michels’ comment by tweeting a video of Evers waving a rainbow flag while marching in a parade along with the message: “Tony will always support the LGBTQ+ community in Wisconsin.”