FORT LAUDERDALE – What a difference a year has made to the policy positions of Rep. Allen West (R-FL), at least in terms of marriage equality. On Friday, April 6, the freshman congressman, who represents Florida’s 22nd Congressional District—which includes parts of Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors—was asked by CNN host Kyra Phillips if he believed that gay marriage was an issue for the federal government to decide.
West, a social conservative who is seeking to win the newly created 18th Congressional District seat created by the redistricting that followed the 2010 U.S. Census, surprised the news anchor by sidestepping the question, saying that there “are a lot people that try to take you down a rabbit hole to discuss things that really aren’t that important.”
Registering both her shock and her familiarity with West’s previous public comments on the issue of marriage equality, Phillips interrupted the House member. “Wait a minute. “Are you saying gay marriage is not important?” she asked.
Said West, who appeared uncomfortable with the question, “I think if you poll the American people—I don’t think they’re going to bring up gay marriage as one of the top concerns. The American people are concerned about where they’re working.” That answer marked a departure for the former Army lieutenant colonel, who told the Eagle Forum Collegians 2011 Summit in Washington last year that gay marriage was a slippery slope with one destination: the end of society as we know it.
“The term ‘gay marriage’ is an oxymoron,” West told the Forum last June. “Because marriage is a union and a bond between a man and a woman to do one thing: the furtherance of society by procreation, through creating new life.” He cautioned that by continuing to permit the existence of nontraditional institutions, “it just becomes a matter of time before you don’t have society.”