Varilek opposes gay marriage

I can’t say I saw this coming, especially from Varilek, a candidate backed by Daschle’s former campaign manager Steve Hildebrand who was once at odds with Herseth Sandlin for her position on gay marriage.

At one time, Hildebrand said he “advised” Herseth Sandlin “on an informal basis” and even donated $500 to her campaign. But when she came on out in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, Hildebrand asked for his money back. Hildebrand, who is gay, is the principal in Hildebrand Strategies, political consulting firm based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Varilek was quoted in the Argus as saying:

?I don?t agree with the president?s new position,? Varilek said, adding that he doesn?t support efforts to redefine ?traditional marriage.?

I wonder if Hildebrand is ready to jump off the Varilek train?

But Steve Hildebrand, President Obama?s former deputy campaign manager and a supporter of same-sex marriage, said he was surprised by Varilek?s position on the issue. Hildebrand was an early supporter of Varilek, helping to launch a Draft Matt Varilek page on Facebook last year.

Hildebrand, who is gay, said the two had not talked about the issue in a year.

?I?m disappointed in Matt Varilek?s position,? he said.

Maybe even more surprising to me is what SDDP Chairman Ben Nesselhuf said:

?We?re not going to get distracted by those issues at the periphery that, at the end of the day, don?t matter to a lot of South Dakotans,? Nesselhuf said.

So much for the standard liberal belief that it’s a civil liberties issue and fundamental human right. Or as Obama said: “It’s the right thing to do.” Evidently it’s a peripheral issue that doesn’t matter…

8 Replies to “Varilek opposes gay marriage”

  1. delegate

    Has Varilek decided that he has a legit shot to win?

    The reason I thought Hildebrand was behind him was because he was pro gay. Why not just support SHS and take Noem down that way?

  2. DDCSD

    What a bunch of chickens.

    Here’s a sample of the SD Democratic Party’s twitter feed from May 9th:

    “Angie Buhl ? @angiebuhl

    Statement I released today: As a member of the LGBT community, I’m thrilled that the President has joined with…
    Retweeted by SD Democratic Party

    3:45 PM – 9 May 12 via Facebook · Details
    9 May SD Democratic Party SD Democratic Party ? @SoDakDems
    RT @BarackObama: Video of the President’s interview on same-sex marriage: http://OFA.BO/ehhrk3

    9 May SD Democratic Party SD Democratic Party ? @SoDakDems
    This is a BFD. #JustForFun RT @politico via @politico44 Biden to appear on ‘Jeopardy!’

    9 May SD Democratic Party SD Democratic Party ? @SoDakDems
    Really? This is the headline from Fox? RT @foxnation OBAMA FLIP FLOPS, DECLARES WAR ON MARRIAGE

    9 May SD Democratic Party SD Democratic Party ? @SoDakDems
    Please RT! @BarackObama: “Same-sex couples should be able to get married.”?President Obama

    9 May SD Democratic Party SD Democratic Party ? @SoDakDems
    “I’m proud to be part of the same team as President Obama.” – Chairman Ben Nesselhuf

    9 May SD Democratic Party SD Democratic Party ? @SoDakDems
    Another step towards a more perfect union. MT @thehill Breaking: Obama endorses gay marriage

    Let’s not forget that South Dakota’s ban only narrowly passed.

    I guess Varilek & the state Democratic party doesn’t think endorsing gay marriage will bring in the donations for him the way it did for Obama. Either that or Varilek just really is a homophobic bigot and that the SDDP is just fine with that.

  3. Elais

    It’s not like being against gay marriage means much in this state as gay marriage is banned in the constitution itself.

    Gays are lucky that the South Dakota GOP hasn’t demanded that they all be hung from a noose like in Muslim/African countries, that’s essentially how good gays have it in this state.

      1. insomniac

        I’m a conservative and I have many gay friends. None of them are persecuted because the are gay or for any other reason. They are normal well respected members of my community.

        I do not believe the definition of mariage should be changed either.

        But if anyone were to intentionally harass anyone I know who is gay I and many of my friends would be the first to stand up and defend them.

        1. Elais


          Citing personal experience does NOT invalidate the fact that gays have it far worse here than in other states, barring the south.

          It’s like claiming you can say the ‘n’ word because you happen to have a lot of African-American friends, and they know you’re aren’t racist.

          There are very few conservative legislators who will stand up and defend gays from discrimination and abuse. Very few legislators are willing to support gays having the same rights as YOU.

          There are also very few citizens I’ve seen who are willing to stand up against people who persecute gays. You must live in some perfect spot in South Dakota for things to be so great for gays there.

          How young are you and your friends? Are they out in the workplace?

          You can still get fired for being gay and there is no recourse anywhere but the good will of folks like you. Very little in state law, city law or county law.

          What do you tell your gay friends if they say they want marriage equality? Tough luck? Move to another state?

          There is a Black Hills Pridefest next month, would you and your gay friends be willing to attend?

  4. Blue SD

    As soon as I heard that Varilek didn’t support gay marriage I decided to back Jeff Barth. Being supportive of everyone’s civil liberties is not only important, it is part of being a real democrat.

  5. Elais


    No one hates gays? What do you base that on? That gays haven’t beaten to death lately?

    There is plenty of hate here, there is plenty of indifference as well. What I’m not seeing is a lot of visible tolerance and acceptance from individuals and elected officials.


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