Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Is Marriage Opposition Plummeting in the GOP?

I don't mean to beat the issue of same sex marriage to death, but having just gotten married myself, perhaps I am overly invested in the topic.  In addition, as a former Republican, I continue to be amazed at the GOP's seeming death wish in the form of its continued opposition to same sex marriage even in the face of the growing support for marriage equality especially among Millennials and younger Republicans.  A piece in The Bilerico Project written by my friend John Becker looks at the change that may be about to sweep the GOP despite the efforts of the hate merchants of of the misnamed "family values" organizations and religious extremists within the GOP base.  Here are s excerpts:
It hardly needs to be said that we're living in a time of massive shifts in public opinion in favor of LGBT rights, most notably marriage equality. This sea change is being led by Millennials -- the generation born between 1982 and 2000, an astonishing 81% of which supports marriage equality -- but it's happening across all demographic groups, including the group most stubbornly resistant to embracing equality: Republicans.

The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe reports:
The change is being spurred far away from Washington by state party officials and local GOP operatives who believe that it no longer makes political sense to block attempts to expand marriage rights to gay men and lesbians.

Illinois Republicans last weekend ousted party officials who disagreed with a former state party chairman's support for same-sex marriage. Nevada Republicans just days ago removed language from the party platform regarding whether gay men and lesbians should marry. A new fundraising committee supporting pro-gay marriage GOP congressional candidates announced last week that it raised more than $2 million in the first quarter from wealthy Republican donors who support gay rights. Even Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an outspoken social conservative critic of gay rights, said in a recent BuzzFeed interview that "I think we need to concede that there's been a real shift of public opinion on marriage."

[T]he generational shift in favor of LGBT rights means the longer the GOP resists moderating their Stone-Age views, the more long-term harm they're inflicting on their own brand.

A survey of young voters conducted last year by the College Republican National Committee found that of the respondents who said same-sex marriage should be legal, about half view the issue as a deal-breaker, meaning that they would vote against a candidate who opposed marriage equality even if they agreed with them on issues like taxes, spending, immigration, and defense. And as conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin points out, nearly two-thirds of Millennial evangelicals support marriage equality. Evangelicals are a core constituency for the GOP; if even young evangelicals are getting out in front of the party on this issue, that speaks volumes.

Or at least it should. As the nation moves rapidly and decisively in the direction of equality, jettisoning outdated social conservatism is the GOP's only real choice if it wishes to remain relevant. The other option is extinction.
John echos my views on the issue of gay marriage.  The question becomes one of when, at least here in Virginia, the GOP will tell the Christofascists at The Family Foundation to figuratively go to Hell - if there is a Hell, I think Victoria Cobb has a reserved seat - and embrace the societal change that is occurring.  Moreover, if same sex marriage becomes legal in Virginia, the tide against the GOP will become only stronger.

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