This is what the candidates said.
Though Republicans may be less willing overall to embrace gay rights than other groups, the party by no means speaks with one voice on the topic. The DADT repeal vote in the Congress carried a few Republican votes with it, and a handful of well-known Republicans have expressed their support for gay marriage as well.
But that's not how the candidates for RNC chair see it. At the debate yesterday, they spoke with basically one voice and said support for gay marriage does not have a place in the modern GOP.
"There are a lot of discussions and debates about the definition of family and everyone has their own way of making it," current chair Michael Steele, who's running an uphill reelection race, said. "As a party though, we have said very clearly that we support this ideal [that marriage is between one man and one woman], that we support this tradition. And I think that is a very good spot for the party to be in."
The man who seems most likely to replace Steele at this point is Wisconsin GOP chair Reince Priebus. At the debate yesterday, he echoed Steele's words and made it clear he saw no legal case for gay marriage.
"I don't believe that judges can rewrite the Constitution and redraft what marriage is," he said. "I think there is a sanctity of marriage."
"Everyone should be loved," he added, "but at the end of the day, I believe that marriage through the sanctity of marriage should be between one man and one woman."
Ann Wagner, the former Bush administration Ambassador to Luxembourg and a past chair of the Missouri Republican Party, told the crowd at the debate that she's also opposed to gay marriage -- and she knows personally that united Republican opposition to the practice can help lead to legal setbacks for the gay rights crowd.
"I also think it's wonderful as a state party chairman as I was to watch these kinds of values reaffirmed legislatively," she said. "When we won the majority in both houses in Missouri for the first time in 50 years, and then elected a Republican governor, we were able to pass a constitutional amendment in Missouri that in fact reaffirmed your 80 percent center-right beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman."