Today, Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee, spoke with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell about the kick-off of President Obama’s campaign. The conversation shifted to same-sex marriage and Vice President Joe Biden’s endorsement of equality over the weekend. In expressing the Republicans’ opposing position, Priebus split from Mitt Romney, suggesting that “individual states can make those decisions on their own,” whereas Romney has pledged to support a federal marriage amendment banning same-sex marriage nationwide:
PRIEBUS: I think Governor Romney and the Republican Party have been pretty clear. We believe marriage is between one man and one woman. We believe, ultimately, that you can’t federalize that kind of mandate, which is why we believe that individual states can make those decisions on their own, and they’re doing that across the country. So we’ve been clear.
Priebus also attempted to conflate Obama and Romney’s positions on the freedom to marry, which is laughable. By signing onto the National Organization for Marriage’s pledge, Romney has committed to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, advance a federal marriage amendment, and appoint anti-equality judges. In fact, Romney offers a three-tier system of marriage, opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples who are already married, and same-sex couples he wants to prevent from marrying. And even at the state level, like in New Hampshire, Romney supports rolling back marriage equality rights.
In stark contrast, the Obama administration has opposed state-level marriage bans (like in North Carolina and Minnesota) and has refused to defend DOMA, instead filing briefs supporting those who are challenging the discriminatory law. The President’s reluctance to support marriage equality in word does not detract from his clear efforts to advance it in action. The RNC, on the other hand, needs to figure out if it wants to be as anti-gay as its presumptive nominee.