MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker has a history of forcefully opposing same-sex marriage in Wisconsin, but in the wake of the state’s ban on gay marriages being found unconstitutional the Republican leader said Thursday that his own views about the issue do not matter.
Walker, who is running for re-election this year and eyeing a bid for president in 2016, continued to largely duck questions about the state’s ban he voted for in 2006, as hundreds of gay couples wed in the last week and polls show public attitudes shifting in favor of allowing same-sex marriages.
Walker campaigned strongly in support of the ban nine years ago.
“We must change the Wisconsin State Constitution to say that marriage is to be between one man and one woman,” Walker said in November 2005 during a brief run for governor that year. “My belief in this position is even stronger today.”
Walker joined with 59 percent of voters statewide to add the ban to the state constitution in 2006. Even though he pushed for it to be approved then, Walker now says his position is irrelevant.
Article continues below“My position has been clear. I voted in the past. It really doesn’t matter,” Walker said in response to questions about the issue following a campaign event Thursday.
He also previously voted as a member of the state Assembly for a bill in 1997 to prohibit same-sex marriages and declare those conducted in other states to be invalid.
As Milwaukee County executive in 2009, Walker vetoed a measure to provide benefits to same-sex partners of county workers. And once elected governor, in 2011, he fired the state’s attorney defending Wisconsin‘s domestic registry law. The state Supreme Court is currently weighing whether the registry violates the state ban on gay marriage.
But in May, Walker said he doesn’t think it will be an issue in this year’s governor’s race.