Conservatives in the News
While it may seem counterintuitive that conservatives support the freedom to marry, a growing number of prominent conservative leaders and elected officials are saying that they support the freedom to marry because of - not in spite of - their conservative values.
Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee and an influential GOP strategist, spoke to a crowd at a public event in Des Moines, Iowa about why marriage matters and why supporting the freedom to marry is consistent with conservative values. In the ten-minute speech, Mehlman, who is openly gay and has been working toward growing support for marriage among Republicans for the past several years, explained the importance of civil marriage for same-sex couples.
I have taught a political leadership course at Williams College for the past several years and it is apparent that college students just don’t get the big fuss over reproductive choice and gay marriage. Even my Republican students appear not only blind to color and ethnicity, but sexual orientation as well. It’s just no big deal.
A significant number of Marylanders were splitting their tickets the opposite way, voting for Romney (or, occasionally, for Libertarian Gary Johnson) and then approving Question 6. That means there were many, many Romney voters who voted for the same-sex marriage law - enough, in fact, that without them the measure would almost certainly have lost by a mile.
Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry sent a letter to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, asking the RNC Platform Committee to resist opposing marriage equality in its party platform.
MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts talks with Tyler Deaton, a conservative Republican fighting for the freedom to marry.
"Together with Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, Log Cabin Republicans are proud to have encouraged this important debate at the Republican National Convention. Only by being in the room and speaking conservative to conservative will we succeed in building a stronger and more inclusive Republican party."
"Despite that disappointment, we are undeterred and will continue to fight for all Americans to 'be treated with respect and dignity.' We will continue to engage our fellow conservatives in discussions about marriage and encourage them to extend that 'respect and dignity' to everyone, including same-sex couples. And we will continue to encourage our fellow conservatives to support the repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act."
"More people inside the GOP are okay with gay marriage than outsiders and liberals would think. That being said, it'll be a while before a tipping point is reached where they come out and say it. I'm talking more staffers and operatives than electeds. It's something Dems want to fight for, but by and large it's something conservatives don't really care about. Meaning they're libertarian about it but don't want to spend their time fighting about it."
If the Marriage issue - or any of its variations - is important to you, feel free to take your position, but keep in mind (a) it is not likely to be the deciding issue for most voters and (b) many Republicans are rethinking their previous opposition.
Even for most of the GOP's old-school legislators, there is dawning understanding that opposition to freedom to marry is on the wrong side of history and damaging to the long-term, and increasingly the short-term, prospects of the GOP, especially among independent-minded younger voters. Indeed, according to Gallup, 70% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 believe that same-sex marriage should be legal.
The progress [on the freedom to marry] within Republican ranks has also been pivotal, not to mention fascinating. And a compelling character in that subplot just added a new twist to the narrative, one that suggests the rapidly changing political dynamics of this issue and its potential import to a party dogged by an image of being culturally out of touch
Politico reports this morning on the internal shift within the Republican Party on the gay marriage opposition issue, which has been taking place quietly for the past few years. The change has mirrored polling numbers, which show that public opinion has moved sharply in favor of gay marriage since 2008. But it's still noteworthy that the Republican leadership in Congress isn't just being passive on this. It has even worked to kill amendments that oppose gay marriage.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) has signed on as the first Republican co-sponsor of the bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. "I voted against the constitutional amendment defining marriage so I'm pleased to co-sponsor the repeal of DOMA and work with my colleagues on marriage equality," she said.
Barbara Bush, the daughter of former President George W. Bush, has joined her mother and a growing number of former administration officials in publicly expressing support for same-sex marriage. Bush has also added herself to a growing list of high-profile conservatives with ties to the Bush administration who have recently spoken out in favor of extending marriage rights to gays and lesbians.
Former first lady Laura Bush has broken with her husband on the premier social issues of his administration and said she backs gay marriage and abortion. After more than eight years of silence on the controversial issues, Mrs. Bush said in an interview with CNN's Larry King Tuesday, that gay marriage and abortion were points of contention with her husband, former President George W. Bush.
I believe that allowing gays and lesbians the freedom to marry is an idea whose time has come. Though my opinion is no doubt influenced by my family's public role in political life, I still approach this from personal experience, as I think most people do. For me, this is about treating all of my friends and all of our brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren the same as I want to be treated. Equality under the law and personal freedoms are what make America the greatest country in the world and they are core values that I hold as a Republican.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell supports same-sex marriage - and he doesn't necessarily believe the issue should be left up to states. "I have no problems with it," Powell, who served under George W. Bush, says in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I don't see any reason not to say that [same-sex couples] should be able to get married under the laws of their state or the laws of the country."