Ralph Reed: Was Obama a ‘bigot’ before endorsing same-sex marriage?
June 30th, 2013
01:10 PM ET
1 year ago

Ralph Reed: Was Obama a ‘bigot’ before endorsing same-sex marriage?

(CNN) - Faith and Freedom Coalition chairman Ralph Reed sparred with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Sunday, saying opponents of same-sex marriage should not be viewed as intolerant.

His comments came after Maddow said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that those who oppose the right for gay and lesbian couples to legally wed think public policy should "demean gay people as a way of expressing disapproval of the fact that we exist."

"But you don't make any less of us exist," she added. "You're just arguing in favor of discrimination."

Saying he "can't let that go," Reed, an unapologetic social conservative, jumped in to disagree.

"This suggestion that because somebody wants to affirm the institution of marriage, that they're ipso facto intolerant - by that argument, Barack Obama was intolerant 14 months ago," he said.

Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage in May 2012, saying his views on the issue had "evolved." When he campaigned for president in 2008, Obama said he was not in favor of same-sex marriage and felt that civil unions were sufficient.

Reed also pointed to a host of other lawmakers who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, which did not recognize same-sex marriages for federal purposes. The Supreme Court struck down a key part of that law last week, effectively granting same-sex married couples more than 1,000 marriage rights and benefits that heterosexual couples can receive.

But Reed said many of those who previously supported DOMA are now against it.

"By that argument, 342 members of the House, 85 members of the Senate – including, by the way, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Pat Leahy - who all voted for the law, and Bill Clinton, who signed it into law, were intolerant and motivated by an animus and a hatred for gays."

Facing pushback from Maddow, who said they all changed their minds, Reed said: "But Obama was 14 months ago."

"Was he a bigot 14 months ago?" he continued also asking the same thing about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who announced her support in March.

"Nobody's calling anyone a bigot," Maddow shot back.


Filed under: President Obama • Ralph Reed • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Jeffsf

    Rachel...nice job standing up to this guy. Ralph being the old Moral Majority must be really hurting right now so he now is trying to turn us all into haters. Jerry Falwell and Jessie Helms must just be besides themselves.

    June 30, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Borderless

    He still is. His current actions are pure party politics. If 51% of the US opposed gay marriage, so would he. He did nothing to help in the fight for equality. No respect for him. None.

    June 30, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. rs

    Listening to the anti-Christian Christian simply shows how pathetic the Right is. So, Obama's position changed, and he's the bigot? Meanwhile the GOP is still trying to halt Civil Rights, and take away voting rights.

    June 30, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. rs

    If Mr. Reed need's to have his position clarified, he should try substituting "inter-racial couples", or "Blacks" in place of Gays. I guess for Reed it is 1950.

    June 30, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. IO

    Obama always supported equal rights under the law for gay couples. The bigots reject the idea of equality for gay couples and reject the idea of giving gay couples any legal protections.

    June 30, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. JeffreyRO5

    Reed is such a lousy excuse for a human being. You can't take what politicians do and say at face value on a hot-button social issue. Obama is about the least bigoted politician there is. But the political reality is that he and other politicians were motivated by not losing their jobs, by supporting equal legal rights for gays and lesbians. Apart from going along for political reasons, the main motivation for these anti-gay laws is animosity towards gay people. It's like saying that every German hated Jews during the Holocaust, because they went along with the oppressive Nazi regime.

    The religionists have gotten a huge black eye because of this issue. They carelessly demonstrated how filled with hate and rage Christianity is. Now they want to drag down others with them. Pathetic.

    June 30, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. Zerubbabel

    Correct me if I am wrong, but was not Mr. Reed indicted and disgraced in the Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay bribery scandal? An unabashed social conservative, huh, I did not know that accepting bribes is an acceptable practice in his faith. It is not in mine, and the last time I checked we were both of the same faith. Gee, he of all people should understand the concept of judgement, condemnation, grace and mercy. He who is without sin cast the first stone. That was an extremely hypocritical statement by Mr. Reed. People do grow and change, that is, except the absolutist right. We were not created to be cookie cutter versions of one another. By the way, there is precedent of marriage being altered from its original state, matt 19:8. There is nothing new under the sun. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves wrote a certain man to the romans.

    June 30, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. Marty, FL

    Reed conveniently ignores the fact DOMA was passed by many at the time as means to stop hypocritical Reed & his ilk from staining our US Constitution with discrimination, which he sadly still wants.

    June 30, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. labman57

    Socially-regressive Christian conservative pundits and politicians continue to reside in a political bubble - isolated from the world of verifiable facts and true public opinion - where the only voices that they hear are the reverberating echoes of their own reality-devoid, homophobic rhetoric.

    People who indignantly insist that they "have nothing against gay people" ... while simultaneously vehemently oppose marriage equality for gay couples ... are nothing more than homophobic bigots living in a state of denial.

    June 30, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. GI Joe

    Is Ralph Reed a Christian because he cons people out of money to make himself wealthy and then controls them by saying they will go to hell if they don't for republicans?

    Sounds like the typical right-wing Christian to me.

    June 30, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |