RNC Chair: Portman Made ‘Pretty Big Inroads’ With Gay Marriage Reversal

Asked how the Republican Party can bring gays and women into the GOP fold, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Monday said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) reversing his stance on same-sex marriage was a good start.

“I think Sen. Portman made some pretty big inroads last week,” Priebus said at a press conference on the RNC’s roadmap ahead after the 2012 elections. “I think it’s about being decent. I think it’s about dignity and respect, that nobody deserves to have their dignity diminished, or people don’t deserve to be disrespected. I think that there isn’t anyone in this room, Republican, Democrat, in the middle, that doesn’t think that Rob Portman, for example, is a good, conservative Republican. He is. And we know that. At the same time, I also defend Rand Paul and what he did, in asking a legitimate question of the President that wasn’t answered. I think the attitude of being open and welcoming in our party goes for both situations. And I think that it’s going to take discipline, and I think that party leaders have to constantly remind everybody that we can’t build the party by division and subtraction. You can only build the party by addition and multiplication. We get that, and that’s going to have to be our endeavor.”

Priebus wouldn’t go so far as to say the RNC supports Portman’s position. “It’s not a matter of whether I support his decision,” Priebus said. “I support him doing what he wants to do as an elected person and as an American. If that’s his opinion, then I support him having that opinion.”

Priebus added that Portman’s reversal on gay marriage would not affect the support he receives from the RNC.

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