Social conservatives defect after GOP candidate for Mass. Lt. Gov. flip-flops on gay ‘marriage’
BOSTON, December 12, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – For Massachusetts’s social conservatives, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back: Karyn Polito, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor and former state senator, recently reversed her long-held opposition to same-sex “marriage” and announced she now favors the redefinition of marriage to include homosexual couples. Now, pro-family activists are threatening to withdraw their support for Polito and her running mate, gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker, and back political novice Mark Fisher instead.
Both Baker and Polito were always going to be a hard sell for social conservatives. Both candidates are strongly in favor of legalized abortion-on-demand, and Baker chose an openly homosexual abortion supporter as his running mate during his previous failed bid for the governorship in 2010. But Polito, at least, had one thing going for her in the eyes of family values voters: She had tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to turn the tide against same-sex “marriage” in the state after a court order made it legal in 2004.
“A lot of conservatives … had been supporting [Polito] because of her stand for traditional marriage, despite the fact that she had a pro-abortion record,” explained Brian Camenker, who runs pro-family advocacy group MassResistance. “Her ‘evolving’ on that issue is the icing on the cake for the Baker-Polito ticket, as far as the grassroots conservatives are concerned.”
In 2007, Polito voted for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and in 2008 she opposed efforts to overturn a law that prevented non-resident homosexual couples from getting “married” in the state. She supported civil unions for homosexuals, but not a redefinition of marriage.
But last week, she changed her tune, indicating that she now supports current laws permitting same-sex “marriage” as-is, and will not fight to change them. When pressed by the Boston Globe to clarify whether that means she favors gay “marriage,” an aide confirmed it.
In an interview with the Boston Globe, a spokesman for the Baker campaign confirmed that Polito’s position had “evolved.”
“Karyn supported civil unions at a time when most Republicans did not,” spokesman Tim Buckley told the Globe. “Like many, including President Obama, Karyn's position has evolved, and she now supports the existing law and will not work to undo the progress achieved over the last decade.”
In response to Polito’s so-called “evolution” on the marriage issue, some social conservatives in the state say they’re giving up on the mainstream Republican party and voting for either Tea Party-backed newcomer Mark Fisher, a businessman; or Scott Lively, a conservative Christian pastor who is running as an independent on a platform of “bring[ing] Biblical values back into the political arena.”
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Camenker said most conservatives are coalescing behind Mark Fisher, who has been in the race longer than Lively and is running as a Republican.
“Republicans are really rallying around Mark Fisher’s candidacy for Governor,” the longtime activist told LifeSiteNews (LSN) via e-mail. “Mark is a small business owner and a staunch social conservative. I’ve known him personally for many years. He is really attracting crowds when he goes across the state.”
Camenker said the conservative minority in the Republican State Committee is gearing up for a fight with the Baker-Polito ticket and its establishment backers to make sure they don’t try to keep Fisher out of the primary.
“The GOP establishment here tried very hard to persuade Mark Fisher to run for something other than Governor,” Camenker said. “But he’s standing firm. Conservatives have absolutely had it with the GOP establishment, Baker, Polito, and all the rest of them. Around the country, Republicans are winning when they stand on solid principles and they lose when they try to be a ‘light’ version of the Democrats. Everyone here is tired of it.”
C.J. Doyle of the Massachusetts-based Catholic Action League told LSN that he thinks the Republican establishment in Massachusetts is actually worse on social issues than its Democratic rivals.
“I have long believed that any attempt by pro-lifers to influence the Massachusetts Republican Party is a waste of time,” he told LSN. “For those outside of the Commonwealth, who have, in recent decades, witnessed the Massachusetts Democratic Party produce leaders such as John Kerry, Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren, Barney Frank, Gerry Studds, Mike Dukakis, Tip O'Neill, and nearly a half dozen Kennedys, it must seem utterly incomprehensible, implausible and incredulous that Bay State Republicans could actually be more aggressively to the left on moral issues than Democrats, but that has been their record.”
Blaming the situation on historical anti-Catholicism among Republicans in the state going back to the 19th century, Doyle said the Massachusetts GOP has been at the leading edge of population control measures ranging from forced sterilization to the legalization of contraception to the distribution of condoms in public schools.
“It is difficult for those accustomed to the divisions of national politics to understand what a malevolent entity the Massachusetts Republican Party continues to be,” said Doyle.