Why the GOP is embracing gay marriage

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a poll on support for gay marriage. Among those who identify as Democrats, there are no surprises. A solid majority supports gay marriage. But opinion among Republicans is quite divided at the moment. The division is not regional (red state vs. blue state) but generational. While only 39% of Republicans support gay marriage overall, a whopping 61% of Republicans under the age of 30 favor legal gay marriage.

What does this mean? If demographics is destiny, it is very clear what is going on here. The Republican party’s future will be no different from the Democratic party’s present on the issue of marriage. It also means that social conservatives who insist on public policies supporting traditional marriage will be increasingly alienated from the party. There won’t be a place at the GOP table very much longer for social conservatives who care about this issue.

That is already true in terms of potential presidential candidates. I have said it before, and I will say it again. 2012 was the last time the GOP will ever run a presidential candidate who opposes gay marriage at the level of public policy. Those days are behind us. It is only a matter of time—perhaps a very short time—before a majority of the GOP finds itself in full support of the right of gay people to wed.

10 Responses to Why the GOP is embracing gay marriage

  1. Paul Reed March 13, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

    It’s interesting to see how quickly what was once liberal now classifies as conservative. Bill Clinton, not exactly known as being a conservative in his day, signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. What a difference 18 years can make.

  2. Ken Temple March 14, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    What happened to my comment?

  3. Karen L. Grube March 15, 2014 at 1:08 am #

    Sorry, but I don’t believe this one bit. My experience with young Republicans tells me something quite different; that they support traditional marriage and families.

    • buddyglass March 15, 2014 at 10:15 am #

      1. Were they religious?

      2. Where they “highly engaged” in politics?

      There are (a few) young Republican voters who aren’t religious. There are young Republican voters who aren’t especially engaged in politics, but nevertheless vote Republican. My guess is that support for s.s.m. is highest among these two groups.

  4. buddyglass March 15, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Gallup, btw, got 26% as the level of Republican support for same-sex marriage in May 2013, which is lower than Pew’s 39%. It was also a year ago, though.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/162398/sex-marriage-support-solidifies-above.aspx

  5. Gus Nelson March 16, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    “There won’t be a place at the GOP table very much longer for social conservatives who care about this issue.”

    Despite the rhetoric, the only place the GOP has ever really had for social conservatives was at the kid’s table where we have routinely been told to just talk among ourselves. I used to solidly support Republicans. Now I find myself voting for them only because the alternative is typically worse. I doubt I’ll be supporting any Republicans within about 10 years.

    • Esther O'Reilly March 17, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

      I encourage you to vote your conscience! Don’t feel like your hand is being forced. Even if you have friends who may judge you, vote for the man whose sign you’d be proud to have in your yard.

      • Gus Nelson March 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

        Thanks for the encouragement. I’m just getting older and a bit grumpier sometimes!

  6. Corey Mondello March 17, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    The title is very misleading. The GOP is NOT welcoming of gays, being full of conservative Christian zealots. There may be a larger groups of young people who consider themselves Republicans, because they want smaller government, but they are neither part of the conservative Christian movement in the USA that supports things like laws against gays in Russia and Uganda, or the current T-Party people like Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz. These young folks would do good by pushing against the powerful and elected in the GOP if they really are those who believe in equal rights for all people. Until then, if you support the current GOP even if you disagree with them on social issues, you won’t win any friends on the left, except those wishy-washy one like in GOProud. Nothing will change in politics until religion is moved. That is when equality makes great strides. The more secular a culture, the happier the people, the less oppression and inequality there is.

    • Gus Nelson March 17, 2014 at 6:56 pm #

      Corey: Are you suggesting China and North Korea (both secular states) have happier people who suffer less oppression and less inequality than others? What about the old Soviet Union? You might want to be careful before making broad, sweeping generalizations. How do you come to the conclusion that equality makes great strides when religion is moved? I understand in posts like this it is hard to be specific, but you might want to think about just tackling one specific item to make your statements more convincing. Making generalized statements without clear support rarely changes minds.

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