Hosts on the CNBC program “Squawk Box” ganged up on Eric Cantor Friday morning when he stopped by the show to press him on the subject of marriage equality, which has recently reached majority support in polls, Mediaite reported. The hosts pressing him by saying, “Nobody’s asking you to marry another man.”
“I know we never talk about gay marriage and I don’t know why not,” began co-host Joe Kernen. “Let’s say that you had definitive evidence that you had 52, 53, 54 percent of the country thinks it’s OK now for gay people to get married. I know a lot of gay people who would make great Republicans and it kills me that these free-market guys … a litany of private sector economics I hear from them and they vote the other way because of this.”
“Do the Republicans — will they forever be behind the curve on this? Will history judge that they waited way too long?” Kernen challenged Cantor.
“You know, I don’t know where the Supreme Court comes down, because as you know they’re discussing this DOMA [Defense of Marriage Act] …” Cantor began to respond.
“They think states — maybe states should do it. And they seem a little bit scared, too, to be in front of things instead of concurrent or behind things,” Kernen said, referring to the other case before the Supreme Court, which challenges California’s Prop.8 banning same-sex marriage after the state’s Supreme Court had said it was legal.
“It’s amazing, though, this is a country of diversity,” Cantor responded. “There are those of us who have personal, religious convictions about the issue, and I think we as a country need to respect people for their opinion no matter which side you come down on. I think that’s what’s really been lacking in all of this debate. Because you’re right, Joe, there are a lot of people who would really adhere to the kinds of things that Republicans stand for, but I think the last election showed us that some of the things we stand for somehow aren’t being received in a proper way and it’s really portrayed as we don’t care about people and that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
“What does that mean, that there’s room for pro-gay marriage Republicans in the party? I don’t even know what that means,” Kernen said.
“Absolutely,” Cantor said.
“Really?” Kernen shot back. “They’re against … they still want to deny that …”
“I don’t think you see the other party totally unanimous on any issue,” Cantor pointed out.
“It’s in their party platform at this point,” co-host Rebecca Quick countered.
“Part of the deal is that we need to be tolerant of other people …” Cantor said.
“But if we’re really free, everybody ought to be free,” Kernen said.
“But then if it’s a religious issue, you really do have to raise the question, what does the government have to do if you have sort of a religious issue of marriage.”
“What if that actually interferes with someone else’s freedom?” Quick asked.
“Nobody’s asking you to marry another man,” Kernen said, then referred to Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who was quoted by Politico saying, “I’m not gay, so I’m not going to marry one.”
“He needs a remedial course in something,” Kernen said.
Cantor punted, “This is an issue that has been divisive, but why can’t we spend some time on things we can agree on? That’s how we build, that’s how we grow. On the economy, my goodness, there’s so much we all know we need to grow and get more jobs, so we’re waiting on the jobs report.”
Watch the clip, snipped by Mediaite, below.