CNBC host Joe Kernen took House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) to task Friday over the Republican Party’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
In a rare discussion of social issues on the financial news program “Squawkbox,” Kernen argued that the GOP has squandered its appeal with fiscally conservative voters by virtue of its opposition to gay nuptials. Cantor said some people, himself included, have legitimate religious objections to same-sex marriage.
“There are those of us who have personal religious convictions about the issue,” Cantor said. “And I think that we as a country need to respect people about their opinion, not matter which side you come down on. I think that’s what’s really been lacking in all of this debate.”
Cantor suggested that the the party’s position wasn’t “being received in the proper way,” but Kernen asserted that “if we really are free, then everybody should be free.”
“No one’s asking you to marry another man,” Kernen said, drawing laughs from Cantor. The Virginia congressman suggested that lawmakers should avoid gay marriage because it’s such a “divisive” issue.
“Why don’t we just focus on things that we can agree on?” Cantor asked.