GQ has fascinating and at times bizarre interview with RNC Chairman Michael Steele (AKA Rush’s bitch) that is sure to raise some eyebrows in Republican and religious circles.
Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.
Are you saying you don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade?
I think Roe v. Wade—as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter.
Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?
The states should make that choice. That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.
On The Gays:
Do you think homosexuality is a choice?
Oh, no. I don’t think I’ve ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there’s a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can’t simply say, oh, like, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being gay.” It’s like saying, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being black.”
That answer is, of course, huge coming from the black leader of the Republican leader. The (black) religious right loves to say that “gay ≠ black” as a justification for not giving us civil rights or even allowing us to draw parallels between the struggles.
Interestingly, these were Steele’s comments on gay marriage:
Well, my position is, hey, look, I have been, um, supportive of a lot of my friends who are gay in some of the core things that they believe are important to them. You know, the ability to be able to share in the information of your partner, to have the ability to—particularly in times of crisis—to manage their affairs and to help them through that as others—you know, as family members or others—would be able to do. I just draw the line at the gay marriage. And that’s not antigay, no. Heck no! It’s just that, you know, from my faith tradition and upbringing, I believe that marriage—that institution, the sanctity of it—is reserved for a man and a woman. That’s just my view. And I’m not gonna jump up and down and beat people upside the head about it, and tell gays that they’re wrong for wanting to aspire to that, and all of that craziness. That’s why I believe that the states should have an opportunity to address that issue.
So you think it’s a state issue?
Absolutely. Just as a general principle, I don’t like mucking around with the Constitution. I’m sorry, I just don’t. I think, you know, in a pluralistic, dynamic society as the one that we have, every five years you can have a constitutional convention about something, you know? I don’t think we should be, you know, dancing around and trying to amend it every time I’ve got a social issue or a political issue or a business issue that I want to get addressed. Having said that, I think that the states are the best laboratory, the best place for those decisions to be made, because they will then reflect the majority of the community in which the issue is raised. And that’s exactly what a republic is all about.
Because he’s sensitive to the needs of aren’t-allowed-to-get-married gay couples but believes in the so-called sancity of marriage, you’d think he’d support civil unions, right? Well, you should remember that only a short time ago, Steele called civil unions “crazy.”
Other things the amazing interview covers? Steele’s times in the priesthood and the gays that resided there, his love of red carpet fashion, his being snubbed by then-Senator Obama, whether he would have his current job if he were white, his plans to bring hip-hop to the Republican party, and of course, Rush.
Definitely read the full interview. Highly recommended (if for no other reason than for someone to tell me if I’m the only one that thinks he came off a bit queeny).
Update: The New York Times has a follow-up statement from Steele as well as reactions from various conservatives, including Mike Huckabee.