(WB) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), eager to capitalize on the U.S. government coming to the brink of a shutdown with Democrats in control of Congress, was thrown off on Thursday when asked about an LGBT issue in other news of the week.

In the wake of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) — now ostracized in the Republican Party for opposing former President Donald Trump — telling “60 Minutes” she “was wrong” to oppose same-sex marriage, McCarthy initially ducked when asked by the Washington Blade during his weekly news conference whether his views have changed.

“Look, same-sex marriage is the law of the land, and it’s what America holds and that’s the law of the land,” McCarthy said.

Pressed by the Blade on whether his views have changed, McCarthy repeated, “It’s the law of the land. I support the law of the land. I don’t see how that’s different. I don’t see how that’s news.”

McCarthy’s response leaves room for interpretation. To support the law of the land is to support same-sex marriage, but not exactly a ringing endorsement and would certainly be a different position for McCarthy.

The Washington Examiner reported McCarthy’s words in response to Blade questioning as him having “effectively endorsed” same-sex marriage. The Guardian reported McCarthy “stumbled through an answer” on the issue.

The Washington Blade placed a call to the Republican leader’s congressional office seeking clarification on whether McCarthy intended to signal he supports same-sex marriage with those words.

McCarthy — like Cheney, who once had a public spat with her lesbian sister Mary Cheney over same-sex marriage — has a record in opposition to same-sex marriage, having cast votes against it before his comments this week.

First seated as a member of the U.S. House in 2007, McCarthy missed out on key votes on same-sex marriage, including the Defense of Marriage Act and the Federal Marriage Act.

However, McCarthy as House majority whip in 2011 voted as a member of the congressional Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group in favor of taking up in court defense of DOMA, which barred federal recognition of same-sex marriage, after the Obama administration declined to defend it. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA in 2013, before ruling in favor of marriage equality nationwide in 2013.

In a related vote on LGBT issues, McCarthy played a key role in defeating a 2016 amendment proposed by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) aimed at upholding an executive order against anti-LGBT discrimination in the workplace among federal contractors.

The new comments demonstrate radically changed views since that time in the American public’s support of same-sex marriage. According to a Gallup poll in June, support for same-sex marriage reached a record high of 70% this year.

For the first time, a majority of Republicans, 55% said they supported same-sex marriage, the Gallup poll found. As pointed out by the Examiner, that’s nearly double the support from 10 years ago in 2011.


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