Reince Priebus: End LGBT Discrimination; GOP: Huh?

RNC Chairman Reince PriebusEdmund D. Fountain/St. Petersburg Times/ZumaPress.com

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


This private GOP polling memo obtained by Josh Green makes clear what we’ve assumed for a while: public support for marriage equality has shifted, irreversibly, and conservative opponents will have to softer their views substantially—and soon—or risk being left in the dust. That’s why President Obama’s public conversion on same-sex marriage seemed like such a long-time coming, and it’s why a southern conservative like Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) would vote to allow gays to serve openly in the military in 2010; the trendlines were obvious.

Which brings us to Reince Priebus’ appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday. The Republican National Committee chairman, appearing on the show to defend his party and its presidential nominee, was asked how he feels about the gays. His response:

I think they deserve equal rights in regard to, say, discrimination in the workplace, issues such as, as Mitt Romney has pointed out numerous times, hospital visitations. I mean I think that for the sake of dignity and respect, sure. But if you’re defining marriage as a civil right, then no. I don’t believe that people who are same sex should be able get to married under our laws.

He’s not ready to hop on board the same-sex marriage train, but…what’s that about workplace discrimination? That’s news—and a hint, at least, of a milder tone by the GOP establishment.

As it happens, just last week two GOP senators teamed up with Democrats to announce hearings on the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which is designed to end workplace discrimination against LGBT employees. It passed the House in 2007 but went no further following a veto threat by President Bush; in 2009, it was introduced in the House but stalled. Although Republicans, like Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), have endorsed ENDA, for the most part it hasn’t garnered broad support within the party. Asked about LGBT discrimination by Scott Keyes of Think Progress, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) responded: “That don’t happen out here in the United States of America.” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told the Washington Blade:”I haven’t thought much about it.”

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate