Priebus: Same-sex marriage isn't a civil rights issue
May 13th, 2012
12:23 PM ET
9 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. George B

    No problem then – let's get the government out of the marriage business altogether. No special government tax breaks for marriage, no special treatment for married people. Marriage can be a religious issue, not a government issue. Think of all that extra tax revenue we can collect once we stop recognizing marriages of any sort!

    May 13, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Indyswimmer66

    CA Liberal... well said! "So....Prince Reibus sez gays deserve respect, but not that much respect. And not nearly as much respect as I deserve. Gee Wiz that's really white of him." I thought I must not be hearing him correctly, but, that is indeed what he was saying in the interview.

    May 13, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. damo12345

    Please keep talking, Priebus. You're on the wrong side of history, and regardless of who wins this next election, generations to come will look back on you and yours with disgust.

    May 13, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. SurRy

    Separate but equal. That's the way we like in the US.

    May 13, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. seebs

    Sounds like someone never read Loving v. Virginia. Marriage is absolutely a civil rights issue.

    May 13, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. Innkahoots

    So then, we should ban divorce. If the moral meaning of just the first word of a legal binding contract between to consenting adults, means so much to these folks, there should be two different types. A marrige licence, and a Holy licence, one recognized by the state and one recognized the church. Each costing the same amount of money to get. Now lets see which one sells the most.

    May 13, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Johnjon

    I get so tired of these conservative republicans............... they all should just become ministers, it's what they're pretending to be anyway.

    May 13, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Innkahoots

    Re: recognized by the church. (sorry)

    May 13, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. ThisGirl

    This is really sad. If Religion has caused and will continue to cause the view that a certain group of human beings deserve a limited number of rights, then why do people say God loves everyone? Does Priebus mean to say God loves almost everyone? One of the reasons why I am Atheist.....But this is not a matter of Religion, this is a matter of equality. Respect is a RIGHT, NOT a PRIVILEGE.

    May 13, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. pinata

    It's only civil rights if I say it's civil rights. Nice logic.

    May 13, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. Rich

    WHY is this even a political issue? Seriously. Anyone who is married is in a civil union. It's why we have to get a bloody marriage license in the first place. Marriage is a religious ceremony. If YOUR church doesn't want to allow for it then feel free to practice there. If another church allows for it then it's none of your business.

    Also, last I checked, no single religion has a monopoly on marriage. This bozo is using the Bible for his definition of marriage. Last I checked not everyone reads, follows or gives a damn about an outdated book. If you're going to follow the letter of the bible then anyone who works the sabbath or takes the lords name in vain is going to hell. Oh and slavery is allowed.

    Bunch of dummies. Get off your horse and let people live their lives. They're doing nothing to you except offending your misguided sense of morality. Cry me a river.

    May 13, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. JRH

    It's not a civil rights issue if it doesn't pertain directly to YOU, you mean. A whole lot of white people didn't see a problem with Jim Crow laws either.

    Bigotry is still alive and well in the GOP.

    May 13, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Satch99

    What usual Conservative hipocracy.

    Remember Elvis was devil's music. Now they have their won rock bands.
    Women would still be not allowed to work or vote.
    The earth would still be flat and they would be burning people at the stake as witches, lol.

    AND the #1 point: YOUR religious values should not be imposed on me if I were gay and wanted to be be married if I do not believe in your ridiculous religion.

    Consevratives live in fear, afraid of the gays they said for years were really only 1% of the population (much hgher actually, 5-7%) . So, if gays are such a tiny percentage, what are you afraid of?

    That;s right, your church tells you to be afraid of angry Gods, and anything else you do not understand using logic and rationality.

    The tone Age awaits you, your already heading back, lol

    May 13, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. Dan I

    You know what else was historical and legal for many many years?

    Women not being able to vote
    Black slavery
    Jim Crow laws

    We don't preserve things simply because they are "historical and legal" and as for religion, religion cannot be used, in the United States, to justify legislation.

    May 13, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. Floyd from Illinois

    Cons HAVE to know that this sort of statement shows them to be surly, bigoted, hypocritical, and clueless – yet they can't seem to resist the temptation.

    May 13, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. Patti in Dallas

    Gee, I wonder how he would explain the thousands of LGBT Americans who have been murdered simply because they are LGBT.

    May 13, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. Jimmer

    "there are more divorces in so called traditional marriages (man and woman) than in gay marriages"

    YA THINK DENOSO?.............lol

    May 13, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. Hawk in Texas

    That is what the republican party has become, my way or the hi way. when fox news drills something into their minds it the truth and nothing but the truth. at church today i had a man say that Obama is a devout muslim. he even argued that Obama has not attended a christian church since belng elected. another woman said that his birth certificate was false. i tried to be reasonable and carry on a conversational discussion about what they had said. i could not reason with them. there is no way that they will believe that they just might be wrong. to their thinking it is the way they said it and no other way. even tho they claim to be christians they are still predigist.

    May 13, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Confused Citizen

    Non billionaires deserve our respect, but not voting rights?

    May 13, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. scoobypoo

    Slavery and segregation were "something that's been historical and religious and legal in this country for many, many years".
    The right-wing argument that we shouldn't allow gay marriage because of "tradition" just doesn't have any merit.

    May 13, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. scoobypoo

    Racism is/was "something that's been historical and religious and legal in this country for many, many years"; that doesn't make it right.

    May 13, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. Jay

    Quote: "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.

    Yeah, tell that to all the gays and lesbians that have been murdered and assaulted.

    May 13, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. knowitall

    What I don't understand is that they always say it is not a civil right but a religious ceramony. The problem I have is that they beleive Marriage is Christian. They use the bible to say that god doesn't want marriage.... but what about non-christian marriage? There is more then one type of marriage, I'm not christian and I'm married. So if a non-religious person can get married how does that make any sense?

    May 13, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. Mike

    It's not a civil rights issue? Hmm.. let's look at the definition of civil rights.

    "Civil and polhello rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression."

    Let's go over a particular bit, "to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression".

    You can repeat it as much as you want, GOP, it doesn't make it true.

    May 13, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. JennyTX

    I hate to say it, but it's clear that Conservative Christianity + Republicans = Hatred + Bigotry. Makes me sick.

    May 13, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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