As the U.S. Supreme Court hears two possibly landmark cases regarding same-sex marriage this week, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says that although he believes marriage should be reserved for a man and woman, he doesn't think the GOP party should act like "Old Testament heretics" regarding the issue.
"My position is that marriage is between a man and a woman, but my other position is also that you treat people with dignity and respect and love and grace and so I think that they're all compatible with each other," Priebus, who is the former chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, said in an interview Monday with USA Today's Susan Page.
"I don't believe we need to act like, you know, Old Testament heretics either," Priebus continued.
When asked to expound on what he meant by "Old Testament heretics," Priebus told Page:
"I think that you have to strike a balance between principle and grace and respect and that's what I'm just trying to do."
The GOP chairman went on to discuss Rob Portman, a junior U.S. Republican Senator from Ohio who earlier in March changed his stance on same-sex marriage after his son became openly homosexual.
Priebus told Page that just because Senator Portman chose to voice his support of same-sex marriage, contrary to the official view held by the Republican Party, he shouldn't be eliminated from the party's platform.
"We do have a platform, and we adhere to that platform," Priebus said. "But it doesn't mean that we divide and subtract people from our party" due to their support for same-sex marriage.
The Republican National Committee recently released an "autopsy" report, called the Growth and Opportunity Project, attempting to explain what it believes went wrong with the 2012 presidential election, in which President Barack Obama was elected for a second term.
The 100-page "autopsy" reportedly urges Republicans to voice a more inclusive tone in their politics so as to attract more women, African-American, Asian, Hispanic and gay voters to the political party, as well as younger voters.
While unveiling the report at the National Press Club on Monday, Priebus indicated that it's not necessarily the policies of the GOP party which need to be changed, but rather how they are communicated.
"To be clear, our principles our sound, our principles are not old rusty thoughts in some book," Priebus said, as reported by ABC News.
"I think our policies are sound, but I think in many ways the way we communicate can be a real problem," the chairman added.
Priebus went on to assert that more attempts at inclusion must be made within the GOP party.
"We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too. We must recruit more candidates who come from minority communities. But it is not just tone that counts. Policy always matters," Priebus said.
Regardless of the upcoming plans of the GOP regarding its stance on same-sex marriage, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee contends that evangelicals in the U.S. will leave the GOP party, should it eventually decide to support same-sex marriage.
If the Republican Party ends up supporting same-sex marriage, "they're going to lose a large part of their base because evangelicals will take a walk," Huckabee said in a recent interview with Newsmax.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing two cases on same-sex marriage, the first challenging California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in the state, and the second challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.