Michael Steele is fighting to keep his job as
lawn jockey Chairman of the RNC and was at today’s National Press Club debate. Of course the inevitable questions about social issues came up and SURPRISE! — they all oppose marriage equality. Watch it (via The Wonk Room):
– MICHAEL STEELE: “It’s foundational to who we are as a nation, how we define ourselves as people…not to the exclusion of others, not to diminish anyone’s individuality, but to say in a very supportive way that the family unit, the family concept, is an ideal that we aspire to.”
– REINCE PRIEBUS: “It’s foundational in our lives… I don’t believe anybody should be denied dignity in this discussion, everyone should be loved. But at the end of the day, I believe that marriage – through the sanctity of marriage – should be between one man and one woman.”
– ANN WAGNER: “It is the true fabric of our society.”
– SAUL ANUZIS: “I think very straight forwardly, marriage is both a religious and a cultural institution that has existed for over 2,000 years…I think that our both belief in our kind of activity to promote marriage and promote the nuclear family is an important distinction that we have in America versus almost every other country in the world.”
– MARIA CINO: “I believe in traditional family.”
UPDATE: In related news, on Huff Post, President of People for the American Way, Michael B. Keegan, has an interesting piece, “A Gay Tempest in the Tea Party“, about the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and the internal strife over the participation of GOProud.
In November, a group of Religious Right organizations, getting wind of the fact that GOProud planned to return to the CPAC in 2011, wrote to the conference’s organizers informing them that they would boycott the event if the gay group was allowed to participate. In a curious compromise, CPAC’s organizers said they would allow both GOProud and the far-right nationalist group the John Birch Society to participate. The protesters, including the National Organization for Marriage (apparently no longer interested in a beer summit), stuck to their boycott. Last week, in a great culture wars coup, they were joined by two of the nation’s most prominent Religious Right groups, the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America. Soon after, WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah chimed in with a call to “purge” the conservative movement of gays and gay rights supporters.
The Religious Right’s joint tantrum over the presence of gay people in the conservative movement is hardly going to derail CPAC, which has lined up an impressive slate of speakers, including Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, Rick Santorum, and Mitch McConnell. These politicians, adept at harnessing the energy of the Religious Right and the bank accounts of economic libertarians, are not going to be scared away by the latest iteration of the right-wing family feud. But they would be wise to stop and think about what it means for the future of their party.
The battle over gay groups at CPAC represents one of the biggest stress fractures in the Republican coalition–a small segment of the base devoted to denying rights and recognition to gay people is running up against an American public that really doesn’t mind gay people serving in the military and in increasing numbers doesn’t mind them marrying either. Although political expedience has kept anti-gay and even some gay groups allied to the GOP, as gay rights become an accepted fact of American life, the party will have to choose between including the excluders and including the excluded.
It doesn’t sound like Steele or his cohorts are getting the message and continue to pander to the fundie fringe.