The head of the Republican National Committee says same-sex marriage won’t be a major issue in the midterm election, but his party’s position is clear — and in reiterating that position, he allied the party with some of the most virulently antigay activists in the nation.
Both RNC chair Reince Priebus and Democratic National Committee head Debbie Wasserman Schultz appeared on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown this morning to discuss issues relating to the midterms, including the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday not to review marriage equality cases from three federal appeals courts, a move that will add 11 states to the equality column. (A federal appellate ruling this afternoon will add at least two more and potentially as many as five.)
Host Peter Alexander noted Wisconsin Republican governor Scott Walker’s fairly calm acceptance of yesterday’s decision, which brings marriage equality to his state, and then the heated objections of Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas and religious right leaders such as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, David Lane of the American Renewal Project, and Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
When Alexander observed that the RNC didn’t put out a statement on the high court’s decision, Priebus said, “We’ve been pretty consistent and clear — we believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, and we’re not running from that position.” (Some political commentators have suggested the party may run from the position, given the increasing public support for equal marriage rights.)
Priebus added that while the primary issues in the midterms will be economic ones, “people like David Lane and people like Tony Perkins are right to be concerned about what's happened here in this country over the past couple of years.” Both the American Family Association, with which the American Renewal Project is affiliated, and the Family Research Council have been classified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center for the misinformation they spread about LGBT people.
Wasserman Schultz, who followed Priebus on the program, called the Republican position on marriage equality “Paleozoic” and said the party is “out of touch” with the electorate on this and other issues.
The LGBT-focused blog The New Civil Rights Movement, meanwhile, denounced Priebus as “praising hate leaders” and posted several tweets objecting to his statement, such as “If you want to capture the hearts of middle and liberal America, maybe you shouldn’t advertise a connection to Tony Perkins.”
Watch the Daily Rundown segment below.