Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has some advice for his fellow Republicans concerned about the legalization of same-sex marriage: stay out of people's bedrooms.
Appearing on CNN's “State of the Union” Sunday, the former 2008 presidential contender says he believes marriage is between one man and one woman but he respects his state's decision.
“I think that marriage should be between a man and woman,” Giuliani said, “but I think that the Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people's bedrooms and let these things get decided by states.”
Giuliani's own state, New York, passed legislation last month to allow same-sex marriage. Gay couples will be allowed to wed starting July 24, when the law comes into effect.
Saying that he thinks the legislation passed by New York lawmakers is “wrong,” Giuliani quickly added that “there are other things that I think are wrong that get decided by Democratic vote.”
Asked if he could see any harm coming to New York by lawmakers enacting the bill, the former presidential candidate said no, but that it would “better for stability and families” if marriage was kept between a man and a woman.
He added, “I see more harm, however, by dwelling so much on this subject of gays and lesbians and whether it's right or wrong in politics."
“I feel we have far more relevant things to talk about,” Giuliani said citing the current budget debates and the war in Afghanistan.
He concluded his comments by again calling on Republicans to stay out of the same-sex marriage debate. “We'd be a more successful political party if we stuck to our economic, conservative roots and our idea of a strong, conservative America that's not embarrassed to be the leader of the world,” he said.
If Giuliani does decided to join the 2012 presidential race, it is unsure how his call on Republicans to essentially get over gay marriage might affect his appeal with conservative voters, which he cites as the base of his party.
Giuliani, who supports civil unions, told NBC New York last month that he understands why gays and lesbians have been pushing for marriage. He said, “I completely understand what people are striving for... I was very glad to see people relieved of this burden of discrimination, which is a terrible thing to feel."
The former New York City mayor lived briefly with a gay couple after his second marriage fell apart in 2001. He had purportedly promised the couple that he would preside over their wedding.
Howard Koeppel and his longtime partner Mark Hsiao invited Giuliani to live in their Manhattan home for six months when his failing marriage forced him to move out of Gracie Mansion, the mayor's home.
At some point during his stay with the couple, the former mayor promised that he would officiate their wedding if gay marriage ever became legal in New York.
The pair, who has since wed, says they still want to hold Giuliani to his promise as they are planning to re-wed on July 24 when same-sex marriage officially becomes legal in the state.
According to Koeppel, however, Giuliani hasn't been returning his calls.
New York is the sixth state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a hearing on a proposal to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The hearing, titled “The Respect for Marriage Act: Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families,” will be held Wednesday morning and will hear from several advocates of gay marriage. The list of scheduled witnesses does not include any supporters of DOMA.
The law, which was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, legally defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The law also protects states that don't allow same-sex marriages from having to recognize such marriages from other states.
Section Three of DOMA explains that “the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”
While Congressional Republicans have been fighting to have the law upheld, the Obama administration said in February that it would no longer defend the Constitutionality of the marriage defense act in court cases.