Are Republicans Beginning To Shift On Gay Marriage?
Democrats announce recently that a plan in their national platform would be, for the first time, support for gay marriage. The response from the Republican party has largely been silence, which doesn’t exactly translate into a marked shift for Republicans on the issue, but it does seem to indicate a recognition of changing public attitudes about the issue.
When Democrats announced that their 2012 platform would include a historic first — gay marriage written in as a plank — the reaction from mainstream Republicans was near silence.
There were no statements blasted out from Mitt Romney’s campaign. The same was true for the Republican National Committee. Romney has yet to address the the fact.
The pushback came largely from social conservatives and evangelicals, who pledged to make same-sex unions an issue going forward and insisted the stand will hurt Democrats.
But the comparative quiet from party leaders would have been unimaginable even four years ago, when public opinion hadn’t yet shifted so rapidly on a signature social issue. And it marks a dramatic change among some of the top Republican donors and opinion-makers, who are supporting same-sex marriage in state-based gay legislative and legal fights, even as the official GOP platform will remain centered on traditional marriage.
“Most Republican Party leaders seem to have lost the stomach for this fight,” said Dan Schnur of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. “Some of that results (from) the number of large-scale donors who support same-sex marriage, some of it’s a result in an increasing number of party leaders who support same-sex marriage, and a lot of it is public opinion polling which shows a shift in the way voters feel about same-sex marriage,” he added.
I’ve argued for some time now that opposition to gay marriage is a loser for conservatives and Republicans long term. In rebuttal, critics often point out that the trend among most states has been to vote to keep gay marriage illegal. Critics would also no doubt point to the strong showing of support for Chick-fil-A recently in the face of liberal attacks on the company’s gay marriage position.
But the voting trend among the states may have more to do with older voters being those most likely to go to the polls, and the Chick-fil-A issue was larger than simply gay marriage. It was also about whether or not a company should be punished for having certain political or religious beliefs (which is why I support Chick-fil-A).
Younger voters simply don’t feel the same way about homosexuality and gay marriage that older voters do. A majority of the GOP base may oppose gay marriage for now, but if the party hopes to remain relevant with the next generation of voters it’s an issue they will have to shift on.Tags: gay marriage, gop, republicans