PHILADELPHIA — Sen. Tim Kaine on Thursday described himself as a “progressive in the South” after being played a clip from a 2005 campaign ad in which he says he’s against same-sex marriage and is “conservative” on issues like “the sanctity of life.”
“I’m a progressive in the South, and that may be different than being a progressive in Vermont or a progressive in Oregon,” Mr. Kaine, the 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee, said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Virginia voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman in 2006, the year after Mr. Kaine was elected governor.
Mr. Kaine said the more he listened to why proponents wanted to get the issue on the ballot, “the more I realized, I can’t be with those guys.”
“Because they’re doing it to try to make the state a hostile place for people that I care about,” he said. “And so I campaigned against the marriage amendment in ‘06, and I’ve really been over on the side of wait a minute, we just can’t discriminate against people.”
Some supporters of Sen. Bernard Sanders have said Mr. Kaine is insufficiently liberal to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate.
In a 2005 campaign ad, Mr. Kaine had touted himself as conservative in certain areas.
“I’m against same-sex marriage. I’m conservative on personal responsibility, character, family and the sanctity of life,” he says in the ad. “These are my values. And that’s what I believe.”
On Thursday, Mr. Kaine also cited his work as a civil rights lawyer and his opposition to the death penalty.
“I’m really happy that the Democratic platform this year calls for getting rid of the death penalty. I’m really happy about that,” he said.
“But I think what Hillary said when she called and asked me if I wanted to be her running mate is she said look, you’re a progressive, but you’re a practical one — you want to get things done,” Mr. Kaine said. “And that’s what appeals to her.”
“And my goal is just to help her A., win, and then help her have a spectacular presidency,” he said.
“And I’ve been a number two,” Mr. Kaine said. “I’ve been a lieutenant governor to a great governor, Mark Warner, and then I’ve been a DNC chair supporting a great president, President Obama, so I know how to be a supporter, and I know how to be an advocate for somebody.”