Ed Gillespie, senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, told Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown that the campaign would make President Obama’s support for marriage equality an issue this November and that Romney will actively push for a constitutional amendment to take away the right of states to voluntarily extend marriage equality to same-sex couples.
Gillespie told Todd that same-sex marriage “will be another bright-line difference in this campaign.” He added that the GOP intends to campaign on the issue:
TODD: Will you guys campaign on this, campaign on this issue of marriage?
GILLESPIE: Sure. I think it’s an important issue for people and it engenders strong feelings on both sides. I think it’s important to be respectful in how we talk about our differences, but the fact is that’s a significant difference in November.
Later, Gillespie added that Romney believes a federal marriage constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage “should be enacted.” Watch the video:
Gillespie is no stranger to using same-sex couples as a wedge issue; he served as President George W. Bush’s Republican National Committee Chairman during the 2004 campaign. During that campaign, Republicans pushed for anti-LGBT state constitutional amendments to get out the conservative vote. They also wrote the following into the Party’s official platform: “We strongly support President Bush’s call for a Constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage, and we believe that neither federal nor state judges nor bureaucrats should force states to recognize other living arrangements as equivalent to marriage.”
Popular support for marriage has soared since then — most Americans now support same-sex marriage. The fact that a number of states enacted constitutional amendments back in 2004 has little bearing eight years later.
Romney has played up his pro-discrimination stand throughout this presidential campaign, boasting that he’d fought to take away marriage equality from same-sex couples and that he’d dug up an an obscure 1913 law (originally intended to limit interracial marriage) to keep out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts. “On my watch, we fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage,” Romney told a CPAC Convention in February.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) dodged several questions on marriage in general, and Gillespie’s comments in particular, today at his weekly press conference, suggesting he will not be providing Romney with any backup on this issue. “A Romney adviser said this morning that they plan to make gay marriage a campaign issue and that they’re also going to push for a constitutional amendment. Do you agree with that?” a reporter asked. “I’m going to stay focused on jobs,” Boehner replied, before abruptly leaving the stage. Watch it: