Opposing same-sex marriage not priority for Boehner, Reid evolves
May 10th, 2012
02:13 PM ET
3 years ago

Opposing same-sex marriage not priority for Boehner, Reid evolves

Washington (CNN) - While House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday he disagreed with the President's support of same-sex marriage, he downplayed the issue's importance in the November elections emphasizing instead his focus on the economy.

"I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman," Boehner said, but quickly added, "the President and the Democrats can talk about all this all they want but the fact is that the American people are focused on our economy and they're asking the question, 'Where are the jobs?'"

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Pressed repeatedly about plans to move any legislation to restrict same-sex marriages, Boehner acknowledged some members are emphasizing the issue, but he immediately returned the conversation back to measures that would create jobs, making it clear the socially divisive issue was not a priority for him.

Why did Boehner change the subject? A House Republican leadership source told CNN Republicans believe the issue of same-sex marriage splits the country, so it is a "wash politically."

Boehner and his team also calculated that the president's renewed focus on same-sex marriage gives Republicans even more running room on the economy – the issue voters care most about.

"Every fight, every squabble we get in dilutes our focus on economy," said the House GOP leadership source.

"This allows us to make the contrast we like. They [Democrats] talk about x, y, z and we talk about the economy," said the GOP source.

Still, Boehner neglected to mention that he and top Republicans in the House approved using taxpayer funds to pay an outside attorney to represent the House of Representatives in an effort to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, a law signed by President Clinton which allows states to restrict federal benefits for same sex couples, and permits states to not recognize same-sex marriage laws in other states. The Justice Department said last year it would not fight for the law in the courts.

Asked about GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's pledge to press for a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, Boehner remained on message, saying "I'm going to stay focused on jobs."

Underlining that focus, Boehner's own press shop emailed out a press clip reporting on his comments at the press conference.

In the Senate where Democrats are in charge, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would consider bringing a vote to the Senate floor to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

"If a state legalized civil unions or marriages, then the federal government wouldn't pay benefits – Social Security…retirement benefits. It would do none of that and I think that's wrong. So what, we'll be happy to take a look at it," said Reid in response to a question from CNN.

He then added that Republicans would likely try to block a Defense of Marriage Act repeal on the Senate floor.

"It's not, it's not a, it's not a Democratic problem, it's a Republican problem," said Reid.

He also said that based on his work early in life as a lawyer on domestic issues, he believes laws governing same sex marriage are best left up to the states.

When it comes to his personal views, Reid released a statement Wednesday night saying he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. However, he also said his children and grandchildren have made him understand that society is more accepting of same-sex marriage.

Reid said Thursday if the issue came for a vote in Nevada, he would vote to support same-sex marriage.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi tried to tamp down the notion that President Obama's embrace of same-sex marriage could impact conservative Democrats competing in tight races in the upcoming election, calling the move "more important than any political consequences."

Pelosi, an early supporter of gay marriage, said "the statement that the President made yesterday was something that was the right thing to do for our country and it filled my heart with joy."

Referring to the President's announcement Tuesday, the House Democratic Leader told reporters Democrats "didn't know it was coming." And Pelosi pushed back on the notion that the President decided to publicize his support of gay marriage because it would help him raise money among those in the gay community and Democratic circles who were pushing to change the party's platform on the issue.

"I really dismiss the idea that this had anything to do with money," Pelosi said.


Filed under: Harry Reid • House • John Boehner • Same-sex marriage • Senate
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Marley

    Yeah Boehner, leader of the House ... "where are the jobs?"

    May 10, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. Boo

    Hey California Conservative – it's 2012 – the 21st century....wish you were here....

    May 10, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. scmom

    It's not funny anymore, it's pathetic and sad. This J-A asking were the jobs are. Yeah we want to know where the jobs are!!!

    May 10, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Every fight, every squabble we get in dilutes our focus on economy," said the House GOP leadership source."

    Hey, JohnBoy. Been pretty obvious from the beginning you aren't what we call a "multi-tasker". Fact of the matter is, you've completely exhausted your own Jobs!Jobs!Jobs! talking points by running in circles, chasing one TeaParty member to another. Net result? America has lost 2 full years of economic growth due to your own diluted ineptness.

    May 10, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. California Conservative

    Obama, the $5 trillion debt man. And in only 3.25 years.

    Something democrats are extremely proud of.

    May 10, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. California Conservative

    Marley – According to Obama they're being created. Your ignorance is simply amazing.

    May 10, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    California Conservative

    Obama, the $5 trillion debt man. And in only 3.25 years.

    Something democrats are extremely proud of.
    ------------------------
    Yes, it would have been $10 trillion had John McCain won and enacted more trickle down tax cuts.

    May 10, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    "Where are the jobs?"

    That worked in 2010 for Republicans. Now it is only going to serve as a reminder to Americans that they have heard that song and dance from Republicans before.

    May 10, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. California Conservative

    Rudy NYC – I'm sure in your liberal stance you can prove it would of went up to $10 Trillion. Your argument is literally a fallacy.

    May 10, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. NameMr

    He came out and changed his mind for political reasons. Obama is a politician who has thrown the Lgbt community under the bus. He is now just fighting for his job. We need a new president who really cares an will take a stand on issues and not worry about votes.

    May 10, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. Bob

    California Conservative

    Rudy NYC – I'm sure in your liberal stance you can prove it would of went up to $10 Trillion. Your argument is literally a fallacy
    ----------------------------------------

    And your argument is literally a fart in a whirlwind.

    May 10, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. lies from the right but mostly hate

    NameMr, good luck finding one

    May 10, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    California Conservative replied.

    Rudy NYC – I'm sure in your liberal stance you can prove it would of went up to $10 Trillion. Your argument is literally a fallacy.
    -----------
    I'm an independent who has found it impossible to vote for a Republican until they get realistic again. John McCain's budget plans called for more cuts, similar to what has proposed in the Romney/Ryan Plan. The only difference between the two proposals are how Medicare is handled. Tax cuts are nearly identical, and the Romney/Ryan plan will cost an estimated $5 trillion, assuming he meets the goal of unemployment under 5%. Since that goal is completely out of touch with reality, the actual cost will be closer to $10 trillion, which works out to one trillion per year EXTRA.

    May 10, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    NameMr – With the repeal of DADT, I do not think President Obama has thrown any group under the $500,000 foreign built Romney bus. It is difficult for republicans as they always try to justify their candidate being out of touch with America as somehow being a good thing. Give it up wingnuts, you cannot polish a turd.

    May 10, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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