Could same-sex marriage affect governor’s race?

MILWAUKEE – Governor Scott Walker made his first public comments Thursday since last week’s ruling on same-sex marriages.

Speaking in Milwaukee, Walker says he is standing by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s effort to halt same-sex marriages.

“We take an oath of office and as a part of that oath, we’re obligated to uphold the constitution of the state,” said Walker.

In 2006, 59 percent of voters in the state supported a ban on same-sex marriages. Governor Walker also cast his vote in support.

When asked by reporters, Walker wouldn’t commit whether his view on the issue has changed.

“So are you re-thinking your position on same-sex marriage?” questioned a reporter.

“No, I’m just not stating one at all,” said Walker.

Walker’s likely Democratic opponent for governor, Mary Burke supports legalizing same-sex marriage.

In a statement, Burke says, “Finally recognizing that committed, loving Wisconsin couples have freedom to marry whomever they choose represents an important step forward for our state.”

St. Norbert political science professor Charley Jacobs says it’s up to Burke whether same-sex marriage becomes an issue in the governor race.

“The issue is how hard is Mary Burke going to press the issue, how hard is she going to illicit from the governor real responses on the issue,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs says Walker should approach the issue carefully, especially if he has his sights set on the White House.

“Because he’s got to attract individual Republicans from all over the country, especially in redder red states that do not support same sex marriage in the way other states do around the country,” said Jacobs.

“It doesn’t really matter what I think now, it’s in the constitution,” said Walker.

If the federal court rules differently, Walker says Wisconsin will abide by that decision.

The latest Marquette University Law School poll in May shows most Wisconsin voters support gay marriage. 55 percent of respondents were in favor of allowing them. 37 percent were not.

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