Huckabee threatens to quit GOP

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he would quit the Republican party if it surrenders on gay marriage.

In an interview, the possible Republican presidential candidate said he’s frustrated that party leaders are raising “the white flag of surrender” on the issue.

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“I am utterly exasperated with Republicans and the so-called leadership of the Republicans who have abdicated on this issue,” he said on the American Family Association’s talk show that aired Tuesday.

He particularly blamed those “in the establishment” as well as Republicans from the “Left Coast” and “the bubbles of New York and Washington.”

“If the Republicans want to lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people, go ahead,” he said. “And while you're at it, go ahead and say abortion doesn't matter, either. Because at that point, you lose me. I'm gone. I'll become an independent.”

Some Republicans have called for their party to tone down the rhetoric on gay marriage in order to gain support from the increasing numbers of Americans that support it.

Polls show broader support for gay marriage, and a number of Republican office-holders have come out in support of same-sex marriage.

But the former presidential candidate challenged that conventional wisdom and said the damage done by repelling the party’s Christian-conservative base would outweigh any gains the party could make by moving more toward the center.

Huckabee’s comments came the day after the Supreme Court decided not to hear challenges to gay-marriage cases, a move that effectively upheld it in five states. Many Republicans remained quiet after the news, with the notable exception of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), an outspoken Christian conservative and likely presidential contender.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus brushed the issue aside Tuesday, calling it not a “top-tier issue” for the party in the upcoming midterm elections.

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