Former Sen. Larry Pressler (R-SD), a Vietnam veteran who served in Congress for more than two decades, said Tuesday on Current TV that the movement for marriage equality is much like the movement for racial equality, and confidently declared that the Republican Party is now in the process of making the right to marry “the new conservative position.”
“The main thing that caused me to change my mind was my work with veterans groups,” he told “Viewpoint” host John Fugelsang, explaining that he’s worked with a gay couple who want to marry and have a family.
“It’s something like in World War II, we had the African-American veterans who fought, but when they got home they couldn’t vote,” Pressler added. “So now-a-days we have gays in the military — we had gays in the military before, but now we have openly gay people in the military — when they come out we tell them they are not entitled to this civil right.”
Despite voting for the Defense of Marriage Act, Pressler is one of dozens of Republicans who signed a legal brief to the Supreme Court in February arguing that LGBT people have the right to marry. He was joined by numerous other prominent Republicans who’ve since fallen from their positions of influence, like failed California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, former Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley and former Reagan budget director David Stockman. Setting himself even further apart from House Speaker John Boehner’s ultra conservative faction, Pressler also openly supported President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, saying those were the first two presidential elections that ever saw him vote for a Democrat.
“In our brief, we argue that this is the new conservative position: that marriage is a conservative institution, and adoption of children is a conservative institution, in a sense,” Pressler said.
“I agree and I do love it when conservative and liberal ideologies converge on an issue, as they do so beautifully on this one,” Fugelsang said.
This video is from Current TV’s “Viewpoints,” aired Tuesday, March 26, 2013.
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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