Studies have shown that only about one-third of LGBT Americans vote Republican, but there’s realistic chance a Republican will win the White House in 2016, so LGBT people need to pay attention to who might take the GOP nomination.

The first debates among Republican presidential candidates hoping to win that nomination took place last week: in New Hampshire Monday, August 3, live streamed at 7 p.m. on CSPAN, and in Cleveland Thursday, August 6, broadcast live at 9 p.m. on Fox News. While pro-gay Republican groups have yet to take a stand behind any one candidate, individual gay Republicans and conservatives are beginning to sort the candidates into two basic categories: Maybe supportable and definitely not.

For now, among the maybes, to varying degrees, are: Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, James Gilmore, and George Pataki.

Among the definitely not are: Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal.

Mimi Planas, president of Log Cabin Republicans of Miami, said she hasn’t decided who to back yet but considers Rubio, Fiorina, and Paul among her “top three.”

Jimmy LaSalvia, who founded the now defunct GOProud organization, dings Fiorina, noting that she chaired the American Conservative Union Foundation, part of the organization, American Conservative Union, “that kicked out GOProud from the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2011 because we were gay.”

Donald Trump, on the other hand, accepted GOProud’s invitation to speak at that 2011 CPAC conference, said LaSalvia, even as many conservatives attending the conference raised objections to GOProud’s participation.

LaSalvia notes that Christie, Kasich, and Pataki have all “demonstrated in the past a willingness to include LGBT voters in their outreach.”

Log Cabin Republicans, the national gay Republican group, won’t make an endorsement during the primaries, said its national executive director, Gregory Angelo. But the candidates this time – with the exception of Cruz, Huckabee, and Santorum – do not exhibit the same “strident opposition to LGBT equality that marked campaigns in the past,” Angelo said.

“A number of the candidates are trying to thread the needle,” he said, hoping to please both the evangelical base and the voters needed to win the New Hampshire primary and the general election.

“It’s like the GOP strategy on LGBT issues is to confuse everybody.”

With 17 announced candidates, the Republican field is already confusing to many people. Below is a quick look at each, with some highlights of their records or remarks on LGBT issues, and a ranking by their odds of winning the nomination as calculated by the research project PredictWise.com (as of August 3):

Jeb Bush
Current odds of winning the nomination:
45 percent
Occupational experience: Former governor Florida
Age: 62
Main asset: Father was president
Main liability: His brother was president
Response to Obergefell: Issued statement saying the Court should have let states decide the issue, urging the country protect “religious freedom” and “not discriminate.”
LGBT Record: Supported Florida constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage; penned a 1994 op-ed in Miami Herald saying “Homosexuality is wrong;” and wrote in a 1995 book that he opposed protections for LGBT people because, “We have enough special categories, enough victims, without creating even more.” In a January 2015 article on BuzzFeed, Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said: “Gov. Bush believes that our society should have a culture of respect for all people, regardless of their differences, and that begins with preventing discrimination, including when it comes to sexual orientation. This [1994] opinion editorial from 20 years ago does not reflect Gov. Bush’s views now, nor would he use this terminology today.”

Scott Walker
Current odds of winning the nomination:
16 percent
Occupational experience: Current Governor of Wisconsin
Age: 47
Main asset: His wife, Tonette, who comes from a Democratic family, told the Washington Post she and Walker’s sons had difficulty with Walker’s position against same-sex marriage.
Main liability: No foreign policy experience
Response to Obergefell: Issued a statement, calling it a “grave mistake” and saying the “only alternative left” is to amend the U.S. Constitution to “reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.”
LGBT Record: Said he supported keeping the Boy Scout ban on gay leaders because it “protected children.” He later tried to back off the comment, and deflected a question about whether sexual orientation is a choice by saying, “I’m going to work hard for every American.” He supported the ban on same-sex marriage in Wisconsin and, as governor, tried to stop hospital visitation and domestic partner registries. Said he has attended the wedding reception of a gay family member.

Marco Rubio
Current odds of winning the nomination:
8 percent
Occupational experience: U.S. Senator from Florida (first term)
Age: 44
Main asset: He’s a fresh face in Republican field
Main liability: “imprudent” personal financial decisions
Response to Obergefell: Issued a statement, saying the issue should be left to the people of each state and he would appoint judges who would apply the constitution “as written and originally understood.”
LGBT Record: Asked if he’d attend the wedding of a gay family member or staffer, he said: “If there’s somebody in my life that I love and care for, of course I would. I’m not going to hurt them simply because I disagree with a choice they’ve made,” said Rubio. But he said he does support the so-called “religious freedom” laws because he doesn’t think business vendors should have to service “a specific event that violates the tenets of [their] faith.” Earned a 22 (out of 100) on Human Right Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard last session. Voted against ENDA in 2013.

Donald Trump
Current odds of winning the nomination:
8 percent
Occupational experience: Real estate tycoon
Age: 69
Main asset: Personal wealth he estimates at $10 billion
Main liability: Proposes unrealistic solutions
Response to Obergefell: Told CNN “I don’t say anything. I’m just for traditional marriage.”
LGBT Record: Accepted GOProud’s invitation to speak at CPAC conference in 2011. Eliminated a beauty pageant rule requiring contestants be “naturally born female.” He said he has “many fabulous friends who happen to be gay,” but thinks same-sex marriage is “weird” and doesn’t support it. He accepted gay actor George Takei’s invitation to lunch to discuss same-sex marriage and attended the wedding of a gay couple.

Mike Huckabee
Current odds of winning the nomination:
4 percent
Occupational experience: Former governor of Arkansas
Age: 59
Main asset: Folksy
Main liability: Fondness for employing extreme metaphors to express a point (Example: Peace plan with Iran equals marching Israelis “to the door of the oven.”)
Response to Obergefell: Issued a statement saying he would “not acquiesce” to the Supreme Court, an over-the-top response that calls into question his willingness to abide by the U.S. Constitution generally.
LGBT Record: Says gays worked for his administration and he has “friends who are gay” but thinks gays are trying to shut down businesses of those who disagree with them, and initiated a “Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day” to show support for CEO’s anti-same-sex marriage comments. Has said same-sex marriage will lead to the “criminalization of Christianity.” And, as governor, opposed gays as foster or adoptive parents.

Chris Christie
Current odds of winning the nomination:
3 percent
Occupational experience: Current governor of New Jersey
Age: 52
Main asset: Willing to ignore party lines when necessary
Main liability: Perceived as vindictive
Response to Obergefell: At a press conference, said he doesn’t agree with the decision and thinks the issue should have been left to “the people,” but that he would “support the law of the land.”
LGBT Record: Vetoed a marriage equality bill to allow same-sex couples to marry but then dropped an appeal challenging a court ruling that found the state’s ban unconstitutional. Appointed an openly gay man to the state supreme court. Signed a law prohibiting conversion therapy. Said he believes people are born gay and that he doesn’t look at gays as sinners.

Ted Cruz
Current odds of winning the nomination:
3 percent
Occupational experience: U.S. Senator from Texas (first term)
Age: 44
Main asset: Of Cuban descent
Main liability: Cruz alienated many of his GOP Senate peers in 2013 when he filibustered to oppose any bill that would keep the government funded as a means of gutting the Affordable Care Act. As he did so, he derided many of these same peers as being soft on the ACA. And many of those peers are reluctant to help him out now.
Response to Obergefell: Staged a Senate subcommittee hearing to air grievances against the Supreme Court majority that struck down state bans on same-sex marriage and to urge that the justices be subject to “retention elections.”
LGBT Record: Led a brief supporting state bans on same-sex marriage in Obergefell case. Earned a 20 (on a scale of 100) from Human Rights Campaign for his Senate voting record on LGBT issues, including a vote against ENDA. Met with small gay political gathering. Attempting to deflect questions about his positions on gay issues, he expressed concern for gays being executed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Praised legislation in some states that sought to allow businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples by claiming a religious objection.

John Kasich
Current odds of winning the nomination:
3 percent
Occupational experience: Current governor of Ohio, former U.S. House Rep.
Age: 63
Main asset: Popular governor of a big swing state
Main liability: Abrasive personality
Response to Obergefell: On CBS Face the Nation, he said, “it's the law of the land and we'll abide by it," adding, “it’s time to move on” and “strike a balance” with religious institutions.
LGBT Record: Scored between zero and 30 on Human Rights Campaign scorecard while in Congress. Said the state didn’t need an Indiana style law to protect religious freedom. Issued an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity. Attended wedding of gay friend. In House, voted for the Defense of Marriage Act

Rand Paul
Current odds of winning the nomination:
2 percent
Occupational experience: U.S. Senator from Kentucky (first term)
Age: 52
Main asset: Provides free ophthalmologic surgery to poor Guatemalan
Main liability: Perceived as isolationist
Response to Obergefell: Wrote op-ed piece in Time magazine, saying he disagreed with the ruling but thinks all Americans should be able to enter into a “contract” and suggests the government shouldn’t be in the business of granting these contracts because they are an “intrusion of government into the religious sphere.”
LGBT Record: Earned a 20 (on a scale of 100) from Human Rights Campaign for his Senate voting record on LGBT issues, including a vote against ENDA. Voted against amendment to allow benefits for same-sex spouses of veterans. Said his office has a “zero tolerance policy for anybody who displays discriminatory behavior or belief…based on…sexual orientation….”

Ben Carson
Current odds of winning the nomination:
2 percent
Occupational experience: Former neurosurgeon and author
Age: 63
Main asset: Relatively new to national political scene
Main liability: Never run for office before
Response to Obergefell: Issued a statement, saying he “strongly disagrees” with the ruling, saying marriage is a “religious service, not a government form.” Called on Congress to “make sure deeply held religious views are respected and protected.”
LGBT Record: Lumped same-sex couples with NAMBLA and bestiality while explaining why he doesn’t support allowing same-sex couples to marry, then apologized for the remarks. Said prison proves sexual orientation is a choice, then apologized for those remarks, too, and, according to CNN, “said he won’t be addressing gay rights issues for the duration of his presidential campaign.”

Rick Santorum
Current odds of winning the nomination:
1 percent
Occupational experience: Former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
Age: 57
Main asset: Persistence
Main liability: Failed to gain traction in 2012 bid
Response to Obergefell:
Said the court “got it wrong,” and that, as president, he would issue an executive order “to ensure no agency of the federal government will interfere with the religious liberty rights of faith-based organizations who oppose same-sex marriage.”
LGBT Record: As U.S. Senator, scored zero on Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard. During campaign for GOP presidential nomination in 2012, Santorum said he wanted to reinstate the ban on gays in the military, characterized the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as “tragic,” and boasted of his active campaign to oust three Iowa state supreme court justices who had ruled that the state constitution guaranteed gay couples the same rights as heterosexual couples seeking marriage licenses.

Carly Fiorina
Current odds of winning the nomination:
1 percent
Occupational experience: Former chairman of Hewlett-Packard
Age: 60
Main asset: Only woman in the field
Main liability: Less than stellar business success
Response to Obergefell: Posted a statement on Facebook, saying the decision “usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide” but urge Americans to find “a way to respect one another and to celebrate a culture that protects religious freedom while promoting equality under the law.”
LGBT Record: Said she voted for California’s Proposition 8. Supported civil unions for same-sex couples, but not marriage. And said she did not support ENDA.

Lindsey Graham
Current odds of winning the nomination:
1 percent
Occupational experience: U.S. Senator from South Carolina (2nd term)
Age: 55
Main asset: High profile in key Senate proceedings
Main liability: Not married
Response to Obergefell: Issued statement saying, he respects the court’s decision, would not support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, but would “staunchly defend religious liberty”
LGBT Record: Earned a zero on Human Rights Campaign’s latest Congressional Scorecard. Supported federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and voted for amendment to ban adoptions by gays in District of Columbia.

Bobby Jindal
Current odds of winning the nomination:
0 percent
Occupational experience:
Current governor of Louisiana
Age: 44
Main asset: Former assistant secretary HHS and U.S. House Rep.
Main liability: Low favorability rating in home state
Response to Obergefell: Issued statement saying God made marriage one man and one woman and that this ruling would trigger an “all out assault against religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree” with it.
LGBT Record: Issued an executive order allowing businesses to refuse service to gay couples and is seeking a state bill to do so.

Rick Perry
Current odds of winning the nomination:
0 percent
Occupational experience: Former governor of Texas
Age: 65
Main asset: Former governor of a large state
Main liability: Perceived as not particularly bright
Response to Obergefell: Issued a statement, saying the decision was an “assault” on the 10th Amendment and an effort to “legislate” from the bench. (10th amendment says states have powers not reserved to the federal government or prohibited by the constitution.)
LGBT Record: As a GOP presidential candidate in 2012, he signed a pledge to the National Organization of Marriage to vigorously oppose same-sex marriage. Opposed gays in the military.

George Pataki
Current odds of winning the nomination:
0 percent
Occupational experience: Former governor of New York
Age: 70
Main asset:
Former three-term GOP governor of large Democratic state
Main liability: Relative lack of name recognition nationally
Response to Obergefell: Told the Washington Blade he thinks states should have decided the issue but that he accepts the ruling and would not support effort to pass a constitutional amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples.
LGBT Record: Signed a state law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Said the marriage issue should be left up to the states. Early campaign ad characterizes LGBT issues as a “distraction.”

Jim Gilmore
Current odds of winning the nomination:
Not yet rated
Occupational experience: Former governor of Virginia
Age: 65
Main asset: Thinks the party must become more accepting of gays
Main liability: Couldn’t muster the funds to run in 2008
Response to Obergefell:
LGBT Record:
Told the National Review that the GOP keeps “projecting anger at the gay community and the Hispanic community, even though they’re open to many of our ideas.”


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