Florida Rep. Allen West has downgraded gay marriage from a threat to civilization to an unimportant issue.

In addressing the Eagle Forum Collegians 2011 Summit in Washington last June, West suggested that marriage equality would lead to the destruction of society.

“The term ‘gay marriage’ is an oxymoron,” West said. “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. Have you ever read the book America Alone by Mark Steyn? It’s about demographics. And if we continue with a cycle of debt and punishing our unborn then it just becomes a matter of time before you don’t have society.”

On Friday, when CNN host Kyra Phillips asked West whether he thought gay marriage was an issue the federal government should make a decision on, West said that there “are a lot people that try to take you down a rabbit hole to discuss things that really aren't that important.”

“Wait a minute,” Phillips interrupted. “Are you saying gay marriage is not important?”

“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,” West replied. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

(Related: Republicans quietly killed anti-gay marriage bills.)