Political Memo Same-Sex Marriage Holds Peril for GOP
Posted on April 30, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
WASHINGTON — It was only five years ago that opposition to same-sex marriage was so strong that Republicans explicitly turned to the issue as a way to energize conservative voters. Yet today, as the party contemplates the task of rebuilding itself, some Republicans say the marriage issue may be turning into more of a hindrance than a help.
The fact that a run of states have legalized same-sex marriage in recent months — either by court decision or by legislative action — with little backlash is only one indication of how public attitudes about this subject appear to be changing.
More significant is evidence in polls of a widening divide on the issue by age, suggesting to many Republicans that the potency of the marriage question is on the decline. It simply does not appear to have the resonance with younger voters that it does with older ones.
Consider this: In the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, released Monday, 31 percent of respondents over the age of 40 said they supported same-sex marriage. By contrast, 57 percent under age 40 said they supported it, a 26-point difference. Among the older respondents, 35 percent said they opposed any legal recognition of same-sex couples, be it marriage or civil unions. Among the younger crowd, just 19 percent held that view.
Steve Schmidt, who was the senior strategist to Senator John McCain of Arizona during his presidential campaign, said in a speech and an interview that Republicans were in danger of losing these younger voters unless the party came to appreciate how issues like same-sex marriage resonated, or did not resonate, with them.
“Republicans should re-examine the extent to which we are being defined by positions on issues that I don’t believe are among our core values, and that put us at odds with what I expect will become, over time, if not a consensus view, then the view of a substantial majority of voters,” Mr. Schmidt said in a speech. See Political Memo Same-Sex Marriage Holds Peril for GOP
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