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hardball
updated 4/12/2013 8:48:55 PM ET 2013-04-13T00:48:55

VIDEO: The RNC passed a resolution Friday affirming its support for “traditional marriage.” RNC committee member Robin Armstrong and Gregory Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, faced off.

The Republican National Committee unanimously passed a resolution Friday afternoon that reaffirms the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage, which RNC committee member Robin Armstrong defended on Hardball Friday evening.

“Actually, we’re the ‘tolerant party,’” Armstrong said. “We allow people to come in who are in favor of homosexual marriage…All we’re saying is that we affirm marriage is between one man and one woman. We’re not going to compromise that value.”

He added, “I think this is an illustration of how intolerant Democrats and liberals are of other viewpoints. You don’t have to agree with me on 100% of my viewpoints to be a part of [the Republican Party].”

Armstrong argued that “most Americans today agree that marriage is between one man and one woman”—a false assertion, given that recent polling puts support for same-sex marriage at an all-time high.

“I don’t see that there’s movement in that direction,” Armstrong said, rejecting the data.

Gregory Angelo, executive director of the conservative gay rights group Log Cabin Republicans, fired back at Armstrong, saying that the RNC’s resolution only contributes to the already-growing gap within the GOP. “Another resolution stating the fact that ‘marriage is between one man and one woman, and that’s the best way to raise children’ is completely unnecessary, and that is a fantastic way to give Democrats fodder to attack Republicans. It’s a great way to make the 2014 election all about this.”

Armstrong responded, “I believe it is the height of arrogance for us to think that we can change 6,000 years of history.”

Video: RNC approves resolution to continue opposition to same-sex marriage

  1. Closed captioning of: RNC approves resolution to continue opposition to same-sex marriage

    >>> welcome back to "hardball." the republican party a few weeks ago released what we're calling an autopsy report citing the need to be more tolerant. that was a word, and inclusive, another word. that's not what the cultural right in the party wants to hear. they began fighting back. hard. rick santorum said the gop supporting gay marriage would be suicidal. the family research council tony perkins told supporters to stop donating until the party got its act together on this issue. then today it seems like the rnc listened. conservatives passed a resolution today declaring "the republican national committee affirms its support for marriage as a union of one man and one woman. as the opt much environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of america. and be it further resolved the republican national committee implores the u.s. supreme court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on california's prop 8 and the federal defense of marriage act ." well, this civil war within the gop obviously is raging right now. but can a party vehemently against gay marriage win in a country where a majority of people acrosses the board support gay marriage ? robin armstrong , republican national committeeman from texas, gregory angelo executive director of the log cabin republicans . gentlemen, this is sort of an amazing thing to watch right now because you've got these couple of strains in republican party which are real, traditional and valid. you've got the libertarian strain which goes back to barry goldwater , live and let live . at the end of his life he was pro gay rights , pro abortion rights , basically live and let live . you have the strong church part of the party . the religious cultural right which has given the party all its votes in the last 20 or 30 years starting with the prayer issue back in '61. let me ask you, dr. robin armstrong , thank you for joining. let me ask you, which is the strongest strain in your history? is it libertarianism or sort of orthodox cultural values?

    >> i think it's a combination of both.

    >> well, that combination ain't working right now.

    >> we're talking about, i'll i'll tell you what we're talking about in our party is having a big tent . we allow everyone in. we are very -- actually we're the tolerant party . we allow, you know, people who are pro-choice in our party . we allow people to come in who are in favor of homosexual marriage . i know mr. angelo is a log cabin republican . he is a republican, a strong republican. all we're saying is, listen, we affirm marriage is between one man and one woman. we believe that. we're not going to compromise that value. that is what we believe. but --

    >> ever. you're never going to compromise? no, let me get this straight. doctor, let me get this straight.

    >> sure.

    >> i want to get your phrasing here. are you ever, ever going to be open to the door of changing that position, or is it permanent with your party ?

    >> i am saying right now that we --

    >> right now.

    >> -- are not going to compromise --

    >> right now.

    >> we're not going to compromise that value and we do not plan on compromising that value in the future. ever.

    >> so you think it's a permanent value?

    >> but -- but what i am saying is, what i'm saying is, if we agreed with someone on 80% of issues, and we disagree on 20% of issues, they're still welcome in our party . we will still accept them in our party . we're not going to throw away the 20%. we don't have to have 100% purity. our party , and our platform, oppose the fact that marriage is between one man and one woman and that's where we stand.

    >> would you be against a group that's against civil rights for african- americans , that 20%, would that be enough to stop out from joining the party ?

    >> absolutely not.

    >> would it stop you from joining the republican party ? you would join a party that didn't believe in civil rights for african- americans ?

    >> what you're trying to do is trying to equate the issue of homosexual marriage .

    >> i'm only asking the question because i'm going to ask the same question to gregory .

    >> i am telling you that republicans led the civil rights movement . abraham lincoln was a republican. so i don't accept the premise of your question. i believe wholeheartedly that most americans , today, agree that marriage is between one man and one woman. republican party will stand on that platform.

    >> well, let me just go through the latest polling. 53%, sir, do believe, they support same-sex marriage. 42% oppose. in your party , perhaps in your world, politically, 66% of republicans do oppose. but you just threw out a line there that's not true. most americans support same-sex marriage now, sir.

    >> well, you know, i'll tell you, i believe that it depends on how the wording is phrased, how the poll is phrased.

    >> how is this question, do you favor or oppose allowing same-sex marriages? people said, yes, they favor it. let me go over to gregory here. how do you like being in a political party that figures you're just the 20% problem? your issues matter a lot to you, i assume, don't count in the big 80%. adds as if that's the same 80%. if you're gay and care about equality of marriage, that's a lot bigger than 20%.

    >> this was pointed out perhaps no clearer than in the letter that came out yesterday addressed to the rnc. a lot pointed specifically to log cabin republicans saying proof the republican party is open and a big tent party is acknowledging the fact log cabin republicans exist here. we're not a part of the party because of its stance on so-called traditional marriage . in fact, we're part of the party in spite of that.

    >> i know.

    >> we agree --

    >> does it bother you when you hear a gentleman like mr. armstrong , a party chair or committeeman say this is essential to the party 's belief, this is something that isn't going to change in the foreseeable future? isn't going to change? is leveraessential? how can opposition to same-sex marriage be essential to being a republican?

    >> you're asking the wrong guy. you can be a republican and be supportive for marriage equality for gay individuals. the party platform in 2012 stated marriage is between one man and one woman did not stop senator portman from evolving on this issue.

    >> is it going to let the party evolve, though? will the party ever evolve?

    >> the party is evolving regardless of what the platform says. right now you have congressman illeana, you have republicans around the country coming out across the country for the freedom to marry . more and more republicans are understanding the importance of becoming more welcome and accepting of gay individuals.

    >> you believe everything -- let me go back to dr. armstrong . do you believe the party is going in the same direction? seems to me there's a lot of people in the party upset about the possibility your party might go toward support for same sex and basically put out the resolution today saying the party as a whole has said it's not going to happen. is there not a libertarian strain out there in your party led by rand paul and people like that who definitely are going in another direction? they're going in a different direction. they're not differing with you. they're heading someone.

    >> we welcome them in our party they are far of the republican party . i think this is an illustration of how intolerant democrats are, how intolerant liberals are of other viewpoints. you don't have to agree with me on 100% of viewpoints to be part of this party .

    >> let me ask you about the ruling percentage of this party . this idea of percentages is helpful. it misses the same point. if rick santorum were the nominee of the party , he won iowa caucuses last year, he could win them again next year, next time. if he were the nominee, he'd say, sorry, this is where i get off the bus. whatever, you know, what will be, will be. if you got a nominee like this guy who says, let's go back and look at contraception. the weird thing he did equating bestiality and homosexuality. whole way he talks about people who are gay. i don't see how you could cheer him as a nominee for president. would you, gregory ? would you support rick santorum ? would you support him as nominee?

    >> it would be extremely difficult for me to support rick santor santorum.

    >> are you saying you could support him?

    >> everybody can evolve. i'd encourage rick santorum to evolve on this issue.

    >> you really believe in evolution?

    >> of course i believe in evolution. we leave no stone unturned at lob cabin republicans . some of the most rock ribbed social conservatives are the people most interested in finding out more about the work we're doing in this organization. one thing i point out to dr. armstrong i think is really important --

    >> do you ever get to meet the people who write your party platform ?

    >> last year before i was executive director, log cabin was involved.

    >> what was your role in drafting the one man, one woman thing?

    >> we were obviously there talking against it.

    >> it didn't work?

    >> no, we were definitely a voice there. those voices are growing. it's important for dr. armstrong to realize.

    >> let me ask him if he thinks it's growing. is the movement in your party toward belief in the appropriateness of same-sex marriage? is there a movement in that direction in your polling?

    >> i don't see that there's a movement in that direction amongst folks who are solid conservatives. i don't see that there's a movement in that direction. what i see is that we're saying, listen, our tone on this needs to be we are accepting of all people who agree with us on 80% of the issues but there are some issues we don't compromise.

    >> dr. armstrong , you did not --

    >> i do believe --

    >> the rnc does not do that.

    >> we're in no way against people at all.

    >> having this resolution, the rnc, a completely unnecessary resolution, simply stating you're restating the party 's position and having another resolution. going into the fact marriage is between one man and one woman are best to raise children, that's completely unnecessary and that is a fantastic way to give democrats fodder to attack republicans . it's a great way to make the 2014 election all about this. it's a great way to make the 2016 election all about this.

    >> i believe it is the height of arrogance for us to think that we can change 6,000 years of history. i believe that marriage, definition of marriage is between one man and one woman. we're not against people, but we are for a one man, one woman marriage.

    >> i want to win.

    >> that's how this party wins.

    >> can i state my view? there's something extraordinarily awkward of the language, between one man and one woman. say a man and a woman. go with the indefinite article. all you have to say is a man and a woman. why do they say it that way? weird defensiveness and oddness of talking like this. this isn't normal english. you don't have to say one man and one woman or one guy and one guy.

    >> i don't think it's strange at all.

    >> why do you say one man and one woman? why do you say one?

    >> as opposed to two men and one woman. i think it's important. it's important.

    >> doctor, you know english as well as i do. what's wrong with saying a man and a woman?

    >> there is a concern, there is a concern that if you legalize this marriage, then the definition will be open to all sorts of --

    >> you're not listening. what's wrong with just saying a man and a woman in what's wrong with saying a man and a woman? what's wrong with saying a woman?

    >> what's wrong with saying one man and one woman?

    >> it's weird. thank you.

    >> just doesn't happen.

    >> it's the polygamy argument. you're right. that's what it is. it's an elbow against you guys in another direction. thank you, dr. armstrong . thank you, gregory , for coming here.

    >>> a programming note, by the way, senator marco rubio will be a guest this sunday on "meet the press." he's got a good bill, by the way. he'll be joined by senators kirsten gillibrand of new york and mike lee of utah. there's an interesting combo.

    >>> rand paul couldn't convince howard university students that republicans are defenders of black americans ' aspirations and couldn't convince jon stewart , either. the sideshow with jon stewart is coming up next. this is "hardball," the place for politics.

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