MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican candidate for Wisconsin governor Tim Michels 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.
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 former President Donald Trump'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.
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."
When asked what he would do to get support from LGBTQ voters, Michels said he will win because voters "know that I'm going to bring proper, proven executive leadership to the governor's office."
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."
Michels' position on same-sex marriage puts him in contrast with another top candidate in the Republican primary. Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch supports same-sex marriage and her campaign spokesman Alec Zimmerman said earlier this month that "she has moved on from this debate."
Kleefisch in 2010 said that same-sex marriage could result in people marrying dogs, tables, or clocks. She later apologized.
Business consultant Kevin Nicholson and state Rep. Timothy Ramthun are also running in the primary. The election is on Aug. 9.