NASHVILLE - U.S. Senate Democratic nominee Mark Clayton today urged President Barack Obama to back off his support of same-sex marriage, saying he's "praying for the president" and hopes to support his presidential bid.
But Clayton, whom the Tennessee Democratic Party has disavowed over his anti-gay rights stands, isn't so sure he will support Obama's re-election bid if the president won't change his position.
"I'm very close to voting for Obama this time," Clayton told reporters at a news conference this afternoon. "But I'm like many of the supporters. We want President Obama to come home, be for traditional marriage between a man and a woman."
Asked if he would back Obama if the president does not change his position in gay marriage, Clayton said, "I'm talking to my supporters about that because many if not most of my supporters are Obama supporters, and I do want to reflect what they think."
He said he did not vote for Obama in 2008, instead going for Chuck Baldwin, whom he described as a "personal friend."
Baldwin was the presidential nominee of the Constitution Party, whose platform says its goals "are to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries."
With no major figure on last Thursday's Democratic primary ballot in the Senate race, Clayton, 35, won the nomination with 30 percent of the vote. Clayton is vice president ice president of Falls Church, Va.-based Public Advocate of the United States, which calls itself a conservative group opposing gay rights.
The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the organization an anti-gay hate group, and Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester has disavowed Clayton and urged Democrats to write in someone else in the Nov. 6 general election where Clayton faces U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., a former Chattanooga mayor.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.