WASHINGTON, D.C., December 12, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – This weekend two prominent Republican spokespeople said the opposition to same-sex “marriage” was dying, “literally,” and that support for redefining marriage is “common sense,” signaling a deepening division between the GOP’s leadership and its conservative base. 

Both syndicated columnist George F. Will and Republican spokeswoman Mary Matalin distanced themselves from the issue Sunday morning on ABC’s This Week program.

Will told the show’s moderator, George Stephanopoulos, “there is something like an emerging consensus” that marriage should be redefined beyond one man and one woman.

“Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying,” he said. “It’s old people.”

The 71-year-old writer likened the climate to the days before Roe v. Wade, when the nation developed a “constructive accommodation on abortion, liberalizing abortion laws.” 

Mary Matalin offered similar sentiments. When Stephanopoulos pointed out that a growing number of Americans (48 percent) support same-sex “marriage,” Matalin responded, “Well, because Americans have common sense.”

Matalin, who appeared alongside her husband and Stephanopoulos’ former partner James Carville, said illegitimacy presented a greater threat to the commonweal. She then dismissed the case against same-sex “marriage” as a “dancing on the head of a pin argument.”

Their comments come as leading members of the Republican Party have said the GOP must distance itself from social issues. But some believe that is the worst response to Mitt Romney’s presidential loss last month.

Proclaiming the death of “the traditional marriage movement is certainly premature,” Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told LifeSiteNews.com. And not just because the older generation has not passed away yet.

“I’m younger than George [Will],” he quipped. “An issue where the public is still evenly divided is hardly an issue that is lost.”

Land, who speaks for the nation’s largest Protestant church, said traditional conservatives had long come under fire “from the Washington Establishment. And if anybody is part of the Washington Establishment, it’s George Will and Mary Matalin.”

“They’ve never really understood the grassroots Republican Party that actually delivers the votes,” he said. He added it would be a “catastrophe” to “jettison social values voters from the Republican Party.”

“Self-identified white, conservative, evangelical Protestants make up 26 percent of the people who actually voted in 2012,” Dr. Land said. “That may be the single largest identifiable voting bloc in the county. They voted 79 percent for Mitt Romney, a higher percentage than Mormons who voted for Mitt Romney. And they made up 48 percent of his raw vote.”

“Now, it may be difficult to win with white evangelical support, but try winning without them,” Land said.

He predicted, “Whoever wants to get the 2016 Republican presidential nomination probably should not take Mr. Will’s and Ms. Matalin’s advice.”

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The defeat of traditional marriage at the polls in four states did not indicate that its advocates were dead.

November represented the first time a slim majority of voters in any state approved of marriage redefinition, or opposed defending marriage. All four states – Maryland, Maine, Washington, and Minnesota – are dependably liberal, and in all four states defending marriage fetched more votes than the Romney/Ryan ticket.

Polls show younger voters support marriage redefinition, something Dr. Land said would change as they grow older. Becoming more conservative and family-oriented is part of the maturation process – especially once they have children of their own, whose innocence would be threatened by a hypersexualized culture.

The most public division at present is the rift between Will, et. al., and values voters.

“There’s always been this tension, and there will continue to be. And most of [the party moderates] will do what [pro-choice GOP donor Sheldon] Adelson did,” Dr. Land said. “They may not like our social issues, but they dislike the Democrats’ liberal economic issues more.”