One Month After Saying Party Would Focus On Economic Issues, GOP Leader Pushes DC Gay Marriage Ban
WASHINGTON -- On Dec. 15, the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) and other conservative groups met with Rep. Jim Jordan, chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), and learned that the group's focus in 2011 was going to be on fiscal issues. R. Clarke Cooper, LCR's executive director, walked away from that meeting reassured that the GOP wouldn't be going after LGBT rights when they took control of the House.
But one month later, Jordan (R-Ohio) is now saying that the RSC will be pushing legislation to ban same-sex marriage in the nation's capital, a symbolic move that would appease social conservatives but be unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.
"I think RSC will push for it, and I'm certainly strongly for it," Jordan told The Hill. "I don't know if we've made a decision, if I'll do it or let another member do it, but I'm 100 percent for it."
Cooper said that he was "very disappointed" by the announcement. "From our perspective, not only is it an attack on states' rights, but it goes in direct violation to the DC Human Rights Act," he added.
Jordan's statement that the RSC will push for the DC marriage equality ban seems to go against the message he was sending groups -- which included the LCR, Heritage Foundation and National Rifle Association -- at the December meeting.
"What Chairman Jordan shared with us is that all the priorities for this Congress are fiscal-related," Cooper told The Huffington Post in early January. "One could interpret it as there have been lessons learned either at a pragmatic or principled level by certain Republicans on social issues, that they're not good for the party; they are divisive." He added that Jordan identified three areas of importance for the RSC: 1) a rescission package that would eliminate previously approved spending; 2) balancing the federal budget; and 3) federal welfare reform.
Asked for clarification, Jordan's Press Secretary Meghan Snyder said that the congressman's top priorities are still creating jobs and reducing government spending. However, she added, he also "believes that, in addition to addressing our country's fiscal issues, advocating for low taxes, less spending and a strong national defense, conservatives must advocate for traditional family values like life and marriage. Family is the cornerstone upon which our communities, our states and our nation is built, and conservatives must lead the way in promoting the strengths of the traditional family whenever we can."
Pro-choice advocates have also been dismayed that Republicans are going after funding for abortions in Washington, D.C. Last week, members of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus introduced the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which not only reinstates a ban on D.C. using its own money to pay for abortions for low-income women, but is also "designed to ensure that every federal government agency and program is prohibited from spending tax money to fund abortions."
Of course, with Democrats still in control in the Senate, these measures are unlikely to become law -- just as the House Republicans' vote to repeal health care reform was a largely symbolic gesture. On Monday night, House Republicans also moved forward with a two-page resolution to reduce "non-security" spending to 2008 levels or below, putting thousands of government programs on a potential chopping block with no specifics on what or how much would be cut.