Twenty-four hours after the Supreme Court announced it would not consider appeals of lower court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage in five states, effectively paving the way for couples to marry in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Colorado, and Wisconsin, the head of the Republican National Committee warned that these unions could undermine American society.
Appearing on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown on Tuesday, Reince Priebus reiterated the GOP’s support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, before arguing that social conservatives like David Lane and Tony Perkins are “right to be concerned about what’s happened here in this country over the last couple of years.” Preibus also seemed to support Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) push to introduce a constitutional amendment prohibiting the federal government from changing state marriage laws.
“I don’t think [marriage equality] is a top here issue for the midterms,” he said. “I think long term it’s an issue in regard to what we need to do in the country to have a strong economy, a strong defense and a strong society.” Watch it:
Suggesting that the nation is hurt by same-sex families and quoting men who claim that if gays are permitted to marry “America will ultimately collapse,” is at odds with the GOP’s promise to be more tolerant toward gay people.
Following the party’s loss in the 2012 presidential election, the RNC published an introspective autopsy which urged Republicans to “make sure young people do not see the Party as totally intolerant of alternative points of view.” “When it comes to social issues, the Party must in fact and deed be inclusive and welcoming,” it said. “If we are not, we will limit our ability to attract young people and others, including many women, who agree with us on some but not all issues.”
But both David Lane of the American Renewal Project and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council lead or are affiliated with organizations that the Southern Poverty Law Center considers “hate groups.” Perkins has described gay people as “vile,” while Lane has called for “war” against the “pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage.”
Despite Priebus’ comments, Republicans have generally sought to downplay the court’s action. Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) “didn’t directly answer a question Monday about whether he thought Wisconsin was better off with legalized same-sex marriage” and promised that the state will honor the court’s wishes. Similarly, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, adding, “it’s time for people of goodwill on both sides of the issue to come together now and heal any rifts that occurred.”