With the Iowa Caucuses less than a week away, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis looked to ramp up support among religious conservatives with some old-fashioned fearmongering.
During a Jan. 4 town hall aired on CNN, DeSantis could not muster the courage to say he supported marriage equality and instead offered his “respect” for the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex marriage.
DeSantis followed the half-hearted endorsement with a disclaimer that gay nuptials would “marginalize” religious institutions.
“What we need to recognize is, you know, you are going to have people try to wield power against our religious institutions and try to marginalize them simply by upholding the biblical definition of marriage,” DeSantis said. “And I’m going to protect those religious institutions to be able to do what has always been done in terms of how they consider marriage a sacrament.”
The marriage issue gained renewed attention following a recent decree by Pope Francis permitting Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples. DeSantis is Catholic, and his answer at the CNN town hall was an obvious play for Iowa’s conservative Republican base.
Still, polls show former President Donald Trump with a sizable lead over DeSantis heading into the Jan. 15 caucuses. Trump has stated numerous times he has no problem with gay marriages.
Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, another Catholic and Republican hopeful offered a different perspective on the issue.
“I was wrong on gay marriage when I was a governor,” said Chris Christie, who in 2012 vetoed a measure that would have legalized same-sex marriage in New Jersey. “True leaders aren’t afraid to admit they were wrong.”
Photo credit: Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022. Photo by Gage Skidmore, Flickr.