Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), above, is rebuked by Family Research Council President… (Charles Dharapak / Associated…)
Sen. Rand Paul, who Friday said that President Obama's views on gay marriage “couldn't get any gayer,” was sharply rebuked by an influential evangelical leader Sunday.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, appearing on CBS' “Face the Nation” strongly disagreed with the Kentucky senator's choice of words.
“I don't think this is something we should joke about,” Perkins said. “We are talking about individuals who feel very strongly one way or the other, and I think we should be civil, respectful, allowing all sides to have the debate.... I think this is not something to laugh about. It's not something to poke fun at other people about. This is a very serious issue.”
Perkins' words were echoed by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus during his appearance on NBC's “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“People in this country, no matter straight or gay, deserve dignity and respect. However, that doesn't mean it carries on to marriage,” Priebus said. “I think that most Americans agree that in this country, the legal and historic and the religious union marriage has to have the definition of one man and one woman.”
Paul's controversial remarks were delivered during a meeting of the Faith of Freedom Coalition in Iowa.
“The president recently weighed in on marriage and you know he said his views were evolving on marriage. Call me cynical, but I wasn't sure his views on marriage could get any gayer,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.
Paul wasn't the only prominent Republican in attendance, with Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Rep. Tom Latham and Rep. Steve King also speaking to the Faith of Freedom Coalition's 30-person meeting.
But if the contrast between Paul's statements and the words of Perkins and Priebus are any indication, the GOP may look to tread more lightly, at least rhetorically, than it has in the past, when dealing with gay marriage.