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Mitt Romney Endorsed By Anti-Gay Group, Backed By Its Leaders

04/11/2012 12:21 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

On Wednesday morning, the National Organization for Marriage endorsed Mitt Romney, suggesting a possible renewal of ties between the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and the organization, the nation's leading group fighting same-sex marriage.

In 2008, when Romney was also a presidential candiate, his political action committee made a $10,000 donation to the National Organization of Marriage.

Earlier this week, the Human Rights Campaign disclosed that two board members of the National Organization for Marriage, Craig D. Cardon and Broc Hiatt, each donated $2,500 to the 2012 Romney campaign. The two also personally donated to the Romney campaign in 2008. NOM is a social welfare nonprofit and cannot give directly to candidates.

In its press release on Wednesday, the National Organization for Marriage described President Barack Obama as "an incumbent who has done virtually everything in his power to undermine the institution of marriage."

Wednesday's endorsement comes slightly more than two weeks after a series of explosive internal documents, which surfaced as a result of a Maine lawsuit, revealed NOM's plans to defeat marriage equality campaigns by "fanning the hostility" between blacks and gays. These memos also described a plan to "expose Obama as a social radical."

The National Organization for Marriage had filed the lawsuit in an effort to overturn a Maine law compelling it to disclose many of its financial backers. The group's nonprofit status has allowed it to conceal its donors, which has drawn fierce criticism.

After a federal judge in Maine unsealed NOM's internal documents, numerous entities, including The New York Times editorial page, called on the Republican presidential candidates to renounce the group. But none of the candidates have done so.

Last year Mitt Romney, along with candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, signed the group's marriage pledge to work aggressively against marriage equality should they reach the White House.

The Romney campaign has not returned multiple requests for comment.

President Obama has indicated that his views on marriage are "evolving," and his administration has opposed anti-same-sex marriage initiatives in several states, including Minnesota earlier this week.

"We hope our endorsement will help focus social conservatives on the need to defeat President Obama," said Brian Brown, NOM's president, declared in Wednesday's press release.

The Human Rights Campaign, the organization that released NOM's internal documents to the public, issued a statement on Wednesday blasting Romney. "One of the most hate-filled groups in American politics is embracing Governor Romney today," said Human Rights Campaign's president, Joe Solmonese. "NOM has said unconscionable things about LGBT people and staunchly opposes any sort of relationship recognition for committed, loving LGBT couples -- not to mention the group's race-baiting."

The National Organization for Marriage did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Its endorsement came the same morning that the group's website and social media outlets were hacked. The hacker's note referred in jest to the internal memos and strategies to "divide Americans."

In 2002 when Romney ran for the Massachusetts governor's seat, he opposed same-sex marriage but supported domestic partnership benefits for same-sex couples and was against an amendment that would have outlawed all domestic partnership benefits for gay couples in the Bay State.

"All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual orientation," his campaign page stated at the time.

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