Earlier this week, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus released an investigation into the party’s 2012 electoral defeat. The so-called “Growth & Opportunity Project” urges the GOP to expand its outreach to minority groups, including people in the LGBT community. The report notes that while Republicans don’t have to embrace marriage equality or nondiscrimination protections for gay and lesbian people, “we do need to make sure young people do not see the Party as totally intolerant of alternative points of view.”
But on Friday, while trying to explain why gay people should vote for the GOP to MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Priebus used a stunningly tone deaf analogy, saying that he would tell gay people about his own “great marriage” to his wife, with whom he sometimes disagrees.
Responding to a question from The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, the chairman downplayed the disagreements Republicans have with the LGBT community on “one or two things” and stressed that all voters can embrace the party’s strong message on the economy, education, and the military. Then, as if unaware of the GOP’s efforts to prevent gay and lesbian people from marrying, Priebus likened the tiny differences between Republicans and the LGBT community to his strong marital relationship:
STEIN: On the issue of inconclusivity. What would you tell an independent minded gay man who believes the right to marry is a civil right? What would you tell him about why he should vote Republican?
PRIEBUS: I would tell him, look, we might not agree on every single issue but, for the most part, if you look at where we are at in our economy and look at where we are with educational choice and our military positions and positions on a strong defense in our party for the most part, we agree on almost everything and doesn’t make someone a bad Republican. It means we are good Republicans and disagree on one or two things. My God, I don’t agree with my wife on 100 percent of the issues but it doesn’t mean we don’t have a great marriage.
Priebus didn’t mention the the GOP’s decision to spend millions of dollars defending the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), opposition to federal nondiscrimination laws to protect the LGBT community or marriage equality and observed that the party’s values are “entirely consistent” with those of most gay and lesbian people. “I think it’s a human position to take and I think it’s a decent position to take,” he added.