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GOP Chairman Suggests Mike Huckabee Should Be Party’s Ambassador On Gay Rights

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"GOP Chairman Suggests Mike Huckabee Should Be Party’s Ambassador On Gay Rights"

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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has been pressing the GOP to be more accepting of gay people, arguing that harsh rhetoric alienates young voters and jeopardizes the party’s future. But on Friday, Priebus took a big step backward, telling the National Review that the party should take its cues about social issues from former Arkansas governor and Baptist Minister Mike Huckabee:

Priebus cited former governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas as an example of someone who could be “a model for a lot of people in our party” in terms of discussing issues like marriage and abortion. “I always tell people: Listen to Governor Mike Huckabee,” he said. “I don’t know anyone that talks about them any better.”

Huckabee — a hard line opponent of marriage equality and abortion rights — uses a warmer and more congenial tone about gay people and women than firebrands like Rick Santorum or Rick Perry, urging conservatives to respect gays and women, even as they organize to deny them legal protections and benefits or access to a full spectrum of health care services. But as the public grows more accepting of same-sex relationships and Roe v Wade, Huckabee’s positions and rhetoric about these issues is out of sync with the nation as a whole and will not serve the party well as it seeks to grow and appeal to more voters:

On Marriage Equality:

– Being gay is a public health risk. “I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk”

– Being gay is a sin. “Well I believe it would be — just like lying is sinful and stealing is sinful. There are a lot of things that are sinful. It doesn’t mean that a person is a horrible person. It means that they engage in behavior that is outside the norms of those boundaries of our traditional view of what’s right and what’s wrong. So, I think that anybody who has, maybe a traditional worldview of sexuality would classify that as an unusual behavior that is not traditional and that would be outside those bounds.”

– Marriage equality will lead to polygamy. “If we change the definition to a man or a man and a woman and a woman, why can’t we accommodate a man and two women or a woman and three men.”

On Abortion:

– Supported Todd Akin. “The Party’s leaders have for reasons that aren’t rational, left [Akin] behind on the political battlefield…Is this what the party really thinks of principled pro-life advocates?

– Would ban abortion even in cases of incest or rape. In 2011, Huckabee traveled to Jackson, Mississippi to raise money for the Yes on 26 campaign, “in support of the Mississippi Personhood amendment, a referendum on the November ballot that would ban abortions in the state” even in cases of rape or incest.

– Compares abortion to slavery. “What are we saying to the generation coming after us when we tell them that it is perfectly OK for one person to own another human being?” Huckabee said. “I thought we dealt with that 150 years ago when the issue of slavery was finally settled in this country, and we decided that it no longer was a political issue, it wasn’t an issue of geography, it was an issue of morality. That it was either right or it was immoral that one person could own another human being and have full control even to the point of life and death over that other human being.”

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