Richard Grenell, the former campaign staffer for Mitt Romney who resigned after some conservatives criticized the hiring of an openly gay adviser who favors same-sex marriage, said Wednesday that the issue should not determine how most Americans vote.
"We don't always agree with the candidate that we support or work for on every single issue, and I don't think that that should be news," Grenell told Fox News. "I think most people should look at multiple issues when they decide in November who to support for president."
Grenell appeared on several outlets in making his first public comments since resigning May 1 after a brief stint in the Romney campaign. He reiterated his strong support for Romney, the expected Republican presidential nominee.
"I am a gay conservative, and proudly wear that badge," Grenell said on the John Phillips radio show Wednesday. He said he left the Romney campaign in part because "it became clear that the far right and the far left wanted to place me in a one-dimensional box and talk about my personal life and the fact that I support gay marriage."
Grenell's resignation followed some conservative criticism over his sexual orientation, and questions about his sometimes caustic use of Twitter.
But Romney told Fox News he was disappointed that Grenell left his campaign: "We select people not based upon their ethnicity or sexual preference or gender, but upon their capability," Romney said on May 4. "We are sorry to have him go."
On May 9, President Obama announced his personal support for gay marriage. Romney has said he believes marriage should be "between one man and one woman."
In an op-ed published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, Grenell argued that gay marriage is not a reason to vote for Obama.
"I can support Mr. Romney for president but not agree with all of his stated policies," Grenell wrote. "I can be proud of President Obama's personal support for gay marriage and still take exception to his dismal national security and economic records."
He also wrote: "The claim that gays should be barred from conservative activism is not only bigoted but is a bipartisan view. The intolerant assault comes from the far right, who object to Republicans who are gay, and the far left, who object to gays being Republicans. When the extremists on both sides are the only ones speaking up, the majority suffers."