A group representing lesbian and gay Republicans has condemned the chairman of the party’s national committee for dismissing gay civil unions.

In a radio interview earlier this week Michael Steele was asked if “Republicans ought to consider some sort of alternative to redefining marriage and maybe in the road, down the road to civil unions.”

“No, no no,” he told talk show host Mike Gallagher.

“What would we do that for? What are you, crazy?

“No. Why would we backslide on a core, founding value of this country?

“I mean this isn’t something that you just kind of like, ‘Oh well, today I feel, you know, loosey-goosey on marriage.'”

Terry Hamilton, National Chairman of The Log Cabin Republicans, said the party need to change.

“The politics of the past were clearly rejected in the November election,” he said.

“We hope Chairman Steele will work to build a more inclusive Republican Party that can win elections.

“Such comments marginalise gay and lesbian Americans, and further alienate the mainstream, moderate, and independent-minded voters that left the Republican Party in the November election.

“We need an inclusive GOP to reach out to new constituencies and to attract younger voters, women, Latinos, African Americans, and others who share our view of limited government and low taxes.

“The Log Cabin Republicans remain committed to working with other mainstream GOP groups and fair-minded Republicans to rebuild the Party.”

Republican candidate John McCain was defeated in the Presidential election in November by Barack Obama, bringing to an end eight years of Republican control of the White House.

The Democrats retained control of and gained seats in both Houses of the US Congress.

Mr Steele, lieutenant governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007, is the first African-American to serve as RNC Chair.

The RNC develops the party’s political platform and coordinates fundraising and election strategy.