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Michigan's Republican Governor Refuses To Take Position On Marriage

"I didn't get hired to deal with social issues," Rick Snyder says. But while running for election, he was clear about his opposition.

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder repeatedly declined Monday afternoon to say whether he personally supports legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, telling reporters that he "didn't get hired to deal with social issues."

On Friday, a federal judge tossed out a state ban against marriage for same-sex couples, leading couples in some counties across Michigan to wed until an appeals court put a stop to the weddings by issuing a temporary stay. In an interview in New York hosted by Bloomberg View, Snyder said he would follow the lead of the courts on the issue.

"I'm there to follow the laws of the state of Michigan. If the judge changes the law... then I'm going to follow what's been redefined as the law," Snyder said.

Asked whether Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who has appealed the federal judge's ruling in defense of the marriage ban, was engaging in a futile effort given the national momentum toward accepting marriage for same-sex couples, Snyder said, "If you look at it, you could say, again, the trend is generally toward changing those rules... [Schuette] is going contrary to that."

Asked if he has personal views on the issue, Snyder said, "I do. But I don't share that."

He went on to explain that he wouldn't talk about his personal opinions because it would invite unproductive press attention, and he wanted to keep his focus on economic issues.

"I didn't get hired to deal with social issues," he said. "I got hired because we had the worst economy in the country." He said he had not publicly taken a stand on the marriage issue.

But in a 2010 debate while he was running for governor, he clearly articulated his opposition to marriage for same-sex couples: "On gay marriage, marriage is between a man and a woman. But people should also have the ability to make contracts between themselves."

McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.

Contact McKay Coppins at

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