The original version of this article said that Republican donor Foster Friess supported same-sex "marriage." Although Friess has publicly opposed provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act, he has not formally stated that he supports its repeal. We regret the error.

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 26, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – If the Republican Party abandons its traditional defense of marriage, it will lead to an exodus of voters from the GOP, former presidential candidate and Reagan administration appointee Gary Bauer said today. 

He told thousands at the March for Marriage that he knew many of the attendees were Democrats, independents, or belonged to a third party.

“I'm a Republican,” he said in rising cadences. “Let me say to my party: If you bail out on this issue, I will leave the party, and I will take as many people with me as I possibly can!”

His speech seemed to take aim at the assessment of Republican strategist Karl Rove, who said on Sunday that he could see the next Republican presidenital candidate supporting gay “marriage.”

Bauer's cri de couer is the most blunt reaction so far to suggestions from the Republican Party's leadership that the GOP step away from its platform's traditional stance on social issues like same-sex “marriage,” abortion, and illegal immigration.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said it was appropriate that the proposals were made in a report the party has called an “autopsy,” an “apt name, considering where its recommendations would lead.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee warned last week that if GOP leaders change the party's view of marriage, “they’re going to lose a large part of their base, because evangelicals will take a walk.”

Some in the Republican leadership believe the GOP must change its stripes, not only to appeal to younger voters, but to attract more money from megadonors such as Sheldon Adelson, who favors same-sex “marriage.” Adelson is also pro-abortion.

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Bauer, who is now the president of American Values, said those in favor of redefining marriage can count on the support of Hollywood, “corporate elites,” and “weak-kneed politicians.”

But his side should take courage. They are supported by “Western Civilization, the teachings of every major faith, common sense, and the God of Abraham.”

He concluded, “I'm with you, and we are going to win!”