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March 2, 2009


Apparently the newly anointed head of the Republican Party, Michael Steele missed NAACP's recently announced position on California's anti-gay marriage Proposition. He either missed it or just simply chose to ignore it for political expediency and to solidify his newly acquired position.

In NAACP's statement, released just days before the California Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the challenges to Prop 8, President and CEO, Benjamin Todd Jealouse said, in part:

"The NAACP's mission is to help create a society where all Americans have equal protection and opportunity under the law. Our Mission Statement calls for the 'equality of rights of all persons.' Prop. 8 strips same-sex couples of a fundamental freedom, as defined by the California State Supreme Court. In so doing, it poses a serious threat to all Americans. Prop. 8 is a discriminatory, unprecedented change to the California Constitution that, if allowed to stand, would undermine the very purpose of a constitution and courts - assuring equal protection and opportunity for all and safeguarding minorities from the tyranny of the majority."

Accoding to reports by Box Turtle Bulletin and Thinkprogress.org, during a radio interview, right-wing host Mike Gallagher asked Steele, “Is this a time when Republicans ought to consider some sort of alternative to redefining marriage and maybe in the road, down the road to civil unions. Do you favor civil unions?”

Steele's response was,

"No, no no. What would we do that for? What are you, crazy? No. Why would we backslide on a core, founding value of this country? I mean this isn’t something that you just kind of like, “Oh well, today I feel, you know, loosey-goosey on marriage.”

Gallagher continued to push the subject by asking, "So no room even for a conversation about civil unions in your mind?" Steele answered, "What’s the difference?"

In stark contrast to this exchange is the fact that last November, Steele told the Washington Times that the party needs to reach out to new communities and that it “has to realize that there are constituencies in the body politic that have no interest in conservative litmus tests based on same-sex marriage and abortion.”

In fact, just days after Steele won the election to head the GOP, he told ABC’s George Stehanopolous that his party would seek to include those who support gay rights.

And, in another interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday, the following exchange occurred:

WALLACE: You are one of the co-founders of something called the Republican Leadership Council which supports candidates who favor abortion and gay rights.


WALLACE: Does the GOP need to do a better job of reaching out to people who hold those views?

STEELE: I think — I think that’s an important opportunity for us, absolutely.

This whole thing, at best, illustrates the hypocrisy and duplicity of the Republican Party. At worst, it shows that the religious right-wing is still firmly in control of the party and that Steele's election was nothing more than a smoke and mirror attempt at making the party SEEM more inclusive.

Sadly, that would relegate Steele to the position of the "token black" who is only there for window dressing but has no real authority himself.