South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint said
Sunday he could support any of the six candidates attending his
Texas Governor Rick Perry, Minnesota
Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Godfathers Pizza
CEO Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are set to appear at the Palmetto
Freedom Forum sponsored by the American Principles Project.
“There's no one in that group that I
couldn't support as our nominee,” DeMint told CNN's Candy Crowley
on Sunday. “I'm very open right now; I'm listening to what they
DeMint, a tea party favorite, could
boost a candidate's campaign with his endorsement.
Joining DeMint on the panel will be
Iowa Representative Steve King and Robert P. George, founder of the
American Principles Project and chairman emeritus of the National
Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous
opponent of gay marriage.
DeMint and King oppose gay rights.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee in
July, King testified in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),
which bars federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of
gay and lesbian couples.
“This [DOMA] is good for families,
good for society and good for government,” King testified. He also
told the panel that sexual orientation is not an immutable
characteristic, suggesting being gay is a choice.
DeMint boycotted this year's annual
Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) convention because of
the inclusion of gay GOP group GOProud. And last year, he stirred
controversy when he told a group of conservatives that schools
should reject gay and lesbian teachers.
All six of the candidates included in
Monday's forum uniformly oppose gay marriage. Two GOP candidates –
former Iowa Governor Jon Huntsman and former New Mexico Governor Gary
Johnson – support civil unions for gay couples,while Fred Karger,
who is gay, supports full marriage. Texas Rep. Ron Paul has said
he's opposed to gay couples marrying but he does not believe
government should be involved in regulating relationships.