Priebus: Same-sex marriage isn't a civil rights issue
May 13th, 2012
12:23 PM ET
11 years ago

Priebus: Same-sex marriage isn't a civil rights issue

Washington (CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Sunday said the Republican Party stands by dignity and respect for gay Americans, but that those sentiments do not change his opposition to same-sex marriage.

"People in this country, no matter straight or gay, deserve dignity and respect. However, that doesn't mean it carries on to marriage," Priebus said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

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Although Priebus said he supports equal rights for gay Americans, including fair treatment in the workplace and hospital visitations, he pushed back against the suggestion that same-sex marriage falls in the same "civil rights" category.

"I don't think it's a matter of civil rights. I think it's just a matter of whether or not we're going to adhere to something that's been historical and religious and legal in this country for many, many years," Priebus said. "I mean, marriage has to have a definition, and we just happen to believe it's between a man and woman."

He also sought to contrast Jim Crow laws, which enforced segregation, with bans on same-sex marriage, a comparison some have made following the president's announcement Wednesday that he now supports such unions.

"I think there's a big difference between people that have been murdered and everything else that has come with Jim Crow, than marriage between a man and man and a woman and a woman," he said.

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Filed under: Reince Priebus • Republicans • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. livingston

    Mr. Priebus – You sir are a perfect example of what is wrong with the gop. A group of bigoted white men who want nothing more then to exclude as many people as they can from the basic human rights that they themselves enjoy.They feel that anyone who is, or believes, differently from themselves is sub-human and does not deserve anything but what they decide to allow them to have. All you have to do is look at the way they talk about those who disagree with them. They will let you have rights that they approve as long as you do as they say and sit in the back of the bus and shut up.

    May 13, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Katy

    "I think there's a big difference between people that have been murdered and everything else that has come with Jim Crow, than marriage between a man and man and a woman and a woman," he said................................... yep, no gays have ever been murdered for who they are..

    May 13, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. bobzaguy

    Somewhere between 6% and 10% of the population is LBGT. That's between 18.6m and 31m people.
    So that says between 279m and 292m are straight, but what are they afraid of? Is it that pesky 4% that no one is sure of?

    May 13, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. whyismycommentawatingmoderation

    Republicans only care about personal freedom when that person is a corporation.

    May 13, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. JS

    Diginity, respect, and equality are all civil rights....until I say they aren't....boy that's a great principled position, I'm glad I left the GOP when I left High School. If I could grow up at 18, why can't they?

    May 13, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Squigman

    This two bit clown wants to make edict, while we follow. I don't think so.

    May 13, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Bill

    The right wishes to keep church and state together, not separated. The republican party needs to disband. They are an embarrassment and a stain in eyes of the world, and to more then half in this country! They have become the christian coalition, and nothing is more twisted then that organization. These people just don't understand " freedom of religion and freedom from religion" ...... Am I the only one who sees the republican party becoming the pilgrims? If they could they would burn gay and lesbian Americans at the stake....

    May 13, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. The Dude

    Do Christians think Marriage is some kind of magic spell or something? You need to have the right ingredients to make it work or it will fail?

    They are correct, but the only required ingredient is love.

    May 13, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. israel

    these people are lunatics and the people that support these idiots are just as rediculous as they are

    if gays deserve dignity and respect, then why don't you let them get married because they love eachother......there's no respect or dignity in your opposition towards that.....history constantly moves foward, progression....even cardinal dolan knows that in a couple decades the resistance towards gay marriage will be a grassroots movement

    May 13, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. israel

    oh and i have 5 words for mr priebus


    May 13, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  11. bam

    GOP party of No Hope Just Shame. shame on the gays trying to marry.... marriage isnt a religious thing it was hijacked by religion.
    the gop agenda The Theocratic States of America

    May 13, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Ted

    Can someone tell me how two gays getting married affects my life?

    May 13, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Keith

    Marriage equality is a civil right issue. It didn't have to be but the Evangelical Community made it that way by not providing a useable alternative.

    May 13, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. ihavetoagree

    I tend to disagree with everything the current GOP, but I tend to agree with thus one

    May 13, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. Dave

    Stop lying, Republicans. Just stop. You aren't even good at it anymore. It's incredibly pathetic, and the public is going to punish you severely in 2012.

    May 13, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. John in Brooklyn

    And nor was inter-racial marriages bans, segregation, denying women's suffrage or least according to those who were against disbanning these practices at the time they were being debated. The first tactic for denying civil liberties is to deny that there is a civil right exists to be protected. Sadly, the current GOP will go down in history as marginal, mean-spirited and...yes...un-American....just as there elitist political ancesters have been.

    May 13, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Laura

    "We just happen to believe it's between a man and a woman" Who's we?

    I just happen to believe the republican party is what's wrong with this country and they should all be thrown out of office for dereliction of duty. But because I believe that does it mean we get to make it the law of the land?

    May 13, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Jeff

    This bigot is a total idiot if he does not consider gay marriage a civil right! I'm tired of all phsyco right wing religious finatics and haters. There is no place in politics or my life for all the weak and feeble minded god lovers! You crazy right wingers love guns and hate gays. Why don' t you crazies republicans just shoot yourselves with all the guns you love!

    May 13, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. kman821

    The same position he holds on women and Blacks having the vote. The GOP ... the party of selfish Neanderthals who hate anyone that's not like them and are they're always on the wrong side of history.

    May 13, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. iowa

    Of COURSE it's a civil rights issue – can you say over 1000 federal tax benefits?

    Just make all unions "civil unions" and be done with it – that's what it is, or should be, to the government anyway.

    May 13, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. 60minuteman

    We're supposed to listen to the opinion of the politician that compared women to caterpillers?

    May 13, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Larry Eberle

    If only people would take a step back and think about what we're talking about. Marriage is a legal state recognized by the government that confers certain rights and privileges. Holly Matrimony is a relationship blessed by a religious organization thereby recognizing the couple's vows and their place in the organization. Two very different things. Gays are asking for the rights and privileges conferred by the state, not to be recognized as a union by any religious organization. If people would only look at the argument in this light, much of the rancor and anti-gay marriage talk would disappear.

    May 13, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. Indyswimmer66

    I suspect by [his] definition, Priebus would have voted against Civil & Equal Rights legislation in the '50's & '60's. After all, treating people equally in the U.S. was a big change from what had been "historical and religious and legal in this country for many, many years,"

    May 13, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. Schmoogalicious

    Just another in a long, unbroken string of social issues Republicans have been dead WRONG about. I guess we can now add gay marriage/gay rights to the ash heap of Republican blunders along with interracial marriage, Jim Crow, women's rights, civil rights, environmental pollution and separation of church and state. Soon we will also be able to add the death penalty and drug prohibition. Keep it up GOP!

    May 13, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. Liz the First

    In other words, we may say we respect gays but we don't consider them equals deserving of all the rights of straight Americans. how pathetic! these bigots cannot even recognize their own bigotry, or if they can, they're certainly not going to admit to it. banning gay marriage makes about as much sense as banning left-handed scissors. and, BTW, it's not 'gay' marriage, it's just marriage, just like a gay guy owning a ford truck isn't 'gay ford truck ownership.' and gay guys owning ford trucks doesn't in any way diminish straight guys' ford truck ownership. gays being married in no way diminishes straight people's marriages, they're doing that just fine all by themselves. 😉

    May 13, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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