Staunch opponent of same-sex marriage Scott Walker has dropped out of the race to become the Republican Presidential nomination.
In doing so, Walker also encouraged the other hopefuls to also drop out, in order to scupper Donald Trump’s hopes of being selected.
“Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With this in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately,” Walker said at a news conference in Madison, Wisconsin yesterday.
He continued: “I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so that the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive, conservative alternative to the current front-runner.
“This is fundamentally important to the future of our party, and, more important, the future of the country.”
Walker told supporters: “I did the best I could”.
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The Republican politician, who is a strong opponent of LGBT rights, has called for a new constitutional amendment opposing same-sex marriage following last month’s landmark Supreme Court ruling.
However, his wife Tonette Walker revealed that her husband’s hardline anti-gay marriage stance is causing internal conflict within their family.
She told the Washington Post: “That was a hard one. Our sons were disappointed… I was torn. I have children who are very passionate, and Scott was on his side very passionate.
“It’s hard for me because I have a cousin who I love dearly – she is like a sister to me – who is married to a woman, her partner of 18 years.”
In his official statement on the ruling, Walker had claimed equality was a “grave mistake”.
He had added “As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.”
Despite opposing the right of same-sex couples to marry, Walker has actually already attended a same-sex wedding.
He insisted previously: “Even though my position on marriage is still that its defined as between a man and a woman, and I support the constitution of the state but for someone I love, we’ve been to a reception.”
Describing the issue as “personal”, he said the wedding was of a family member.