Gay activists pressure GOP to drop pro-marriage plank from platform
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- For decades, a growing portion of the Republican Party has urged the GOP to eliminate its formal opposition to same-sex "marriage" in the party platform. With the next presidential election less than 20 months away, several groups with deep-pocketed backers are again making the push, arguing that the party must adapt to win.
However, one pro-marriage critic told LifeSiteNews that it would be “idiotic” for the party to drop its support for marriage.
According to National Journal, prominent among the socially liberal groups is Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, which is pushing activists and leaders in early primary states to back the change. These groups say that same-sex "marriage" could give the Democratic Party a win in the 2016 election if the GOP does not change on marriage.
It's a tough issue for the GOP, which faces a rise in public support for marriage redefinition -- somewhere between the mid-fifties to nearly 60 percent, according to a number of polls. On the other side of the equation are the social conservatives that make up an enormous part of the party's base, as well as voter focus on issues like the economy.
Additionally, over two-thirds of Republicans oppose changing the definition of marriage.
Frank Schubert, political director for the National Organization for Marriage, told LifeSiteNews that the idea that getting rid of marriage from the party platform will help the GOP "is idiotic."
"Marriage outperformed Romney by 6.6 percent in four states where marriage was on the ballot," said Schubert. "Those pushing this change need to ask themselves, 'What is the point of being a Republican?' if you are going to abandon issues that have gotten people to join the party, go to the polls, etc -- why should people continue being Republicans?"
"Rich donors don't walk door-to-door or go to the precincts. It would be a terrible decision if the GOP were to abandon marriage."
Longtime political commentator and author Kavon Nikrad, who holds a Master's Degree in Public Affairs from the Humphrey School and founded the Republican campaigns and elections website Race42016.com, told LifeSiteNews he believes "it would hurt the Republican Party more than it would help to change its stance on marriage, at this point in time."
Nikrad said it is “probably inevitable” that the GOP will eventually join the Democrats in backing same-sex “marriage,” but at this point it would be too politically damaging. "With the Republican Party being the party of social conservatives, and being the party that stands against gay marriage at this time, it would probably do more damage with their base that they need to win elections, than it would gain them voters,” he said.
Sean Trende, senior elections analyst for Real Clear Politics, likewise said that "as always, these things involve tradeoffs."
"Taking the marriage plank out of the GOP platform might hurt the GOP among older, more socially conservative voters, but might help with Millenials," he told LifeSiteNews. "The dilemma for the GOP is, as always, that a substantial share of its vote comes from voters who might be Democrats, but for social issues. Of course, there are many Democrats who might be Republicans but for those issues, so it is difficult to sort out."
It is the latter bloc that Tyler Deaton told National Journal is of concern to him. Deaton, a senior adviser for the pro-gay "marriage" group American Unity Fund, said that "there will be Republican voters who trust the party on economics, who trust the party on national defense, but they might have a gay brother or a lesbian daughter, and even though they agree with the Republican Party on other issues, that is a deal-breaker."
Deaton's group is backed by Republican donor and billionaire Paul Singer, who is one of the party's biggest donors -- and one of its biggest proponents of changing positions on marriage. A former Republican National Committee chairman who later came out as gay is pushing for change, as well, and it is rumored that behind the scenes many of the GOP's leaders do not wish to continue fighting for actual marriage.
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Nikrad says this mentality is taking place because of media control by the left that has convinced "low-information voters" of the validity of same-sex "marriage." Asked by LifeSiteNews why the GOP's position is often considered regressive, compared to the Democratic Party's platform of abortion-on-demand that is further outside of the mainstream that seems to be holding strong, Nikrad said it was about media control and messaging.
Same-sex “marriage” advocates, he said, “have been able, through popular media and social media to paint” their opponents “as being regressive -- similar to those that would have been against interracial marriage back in the 1960s."
"They've painted it as a civil rights issue," said Nikrad, pointing to online outlets like Upworthy and Buzzfeed, as well as "The Daily Show," that he says highlight gay "marriage" but do not make strong cases for the pro-life position.
Recent history, however, shows that breaking with socially conservative voters may not benefit the GOP. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who changed his opinion on marriage after his son came out as gay, has lost the support of a number of socially conservative donors. He also lost the support of nearly two dozen state politicians and party leaders in his re-election campaign.
The Republican National Committee did not respond to multiple requests for comment about changing the party's platform on marriage.
However, Chairman Reince Priebus has previously stated that the GOP is "a party that believes marriage ought to be between one man and one woman. That's our party platform, and it's a position I've never backed away from."
And earlier this year, Priebus told LifeSiteNews, "As far as our party is concerned, we believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I think all of our [2016 presidential] candidates will, too."