Reince Priebus: End LGBT Discrimination; GOP: Huh?

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

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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.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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