Poll Finds Republicans Must Evolve or Die on Gay Marriage

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In the wake of Obama’s historic support for gay marriage and Mitt Romney’s Cranbrook bullying of a gay student, public opinion researcher and Bush’s 2004 pollster Jan van Lohuizen issued a warning to Republicans – change your stance on gay marriage or become irrelevant.

Citing poll numbers, van Lohuizen makes the case for why Republicans need to change their position on gay marriage and they need to do it yesterday. See, it’s not just Democrats and young people who support equal rights for gay couples anymore. Support among Republicans is on the rise.

Politico reported (read the full memo on Politico):

3. Polling conducted among Republicans show that majorities of Republicans and Republican leaning voters support extending basic legal protections to gays and lesbians. These include majority Republican support for:
a. Protecting gays and lesbians against being fired for reasons of sexual orientation
b. Protections against bullying and harassment
c. Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
d. Right to visit partners in hospitals
e. Protecting partners against loss of home in case of severe medical emergencies or death
f. Legal protection in some form for gay couples whether it be same sex marriage or domestic partnership (only 29% of Republicans oppose legal recognition in any form).

It isn’t that Republican leaders have changed their mind or that it’s suddenly right in their opinion, but they must change their position because the polls are shifting in such a way that it will be impossible to win elections if they do not. The polls are shifting not just from a generational standpoint, but a rethinking of the issue across the board. Thus, Republicans must now change their stance on gay marriage.

The question is, how can they get the base on board? After all, Republicans have made quite a show of demonizing gay people as infidels, even blaming the gay community for their own failed marriages. High profile Republicans are on record repeatedly suggesting that gay men are child molesters. They have cited Jesus and the Bible as proof that gay is bad. Republicans have used their demonizing of the gay community to get out the vote. After so much conditioning, their religious base may actually believe that the soul of America depends upon their successful theft of rights from the gay community.

Here’s van Lohuizen’s suggested insight into how to get out of this conundrum by co-opting the notion of personal freedom via cognitive dissonance and political expediency:

“People who believe in equality under the law as a fundamental principle, as I do, will agree that this principle extends to gay and lesbian couples; gay and lesbian couples should not face discrimination and their relationship should be protected under the law. People who disagree on the fundamental nature of marriage can agree, at the same time, that gays and lesbians should receive essential rights and protections such as hospital visitation, adoption rights, and health and death benefits.”

Van Lohuizen kindly provides answers to follow up questions Republicans may face as they work to reframe the gay marriage issue. We wouldn’t want anyone thinking on their own – that’s how mistakes are made. He suggests the following as a way to rebrand gay marriage as conservative freedom:

“As people who promote personal responsibility, family values, commitment and stability, and emphasize freedom and limited government we have to recognize that freedom means freedom for everyone. This includes the freedom to decide how you live and to enter into relationships of your choosing, the freedom to live without excessive interference of the regulatory force of government.”

The problem with conservative freedom is that it is obviously dependent upon what the majority think, and what is politically expedient, rather than consistent, fundamental beliefs or values. This sums up all that is wrong with the modern Republican Party. We have Republican Scott Walker implementing Obama economics in a desperate attempt to save his job in Wisconsin and now we have Republicans being warned to walk back their stance on gay marriage – a stance that just this week resulted in a constitutional amendment restricting rights from gay couples in North Carolina.

How can a person be for restricting rights today and tomorrow suddenly sell personal freedom? The Republican base is not known for their independent thinking, but at some point, Republicans are going to have to face them on this issue and it just might be too entrenched to ease out of easily.

This is good news for gay rights if Republicans actually follow van Lohuizen’s advice, but how will the conservative base react when the same leaders who have been jacking up their fears about how gay marriage is an abomination against God open their freedom arms to the alleged infidels?

If the Republican Party is really the party of personal freedom as van Lohuizen warns them to claim, then why are they limiting women’s freedom right now? If the Republican Party is really the party of small government, then why are they using government to take away rights from gays, women, immigrants, and more? If the Republican Party really is the party of personal freedom and liberty, then why did it take polls and an over-whelming majority to get Republicans to suddenly see this issue as an issue of freedom and liberty?

Sadly, this is really what’s wrong with the Republican Party – it has become a party with no values. The leaders use social wedge issues to get out the vote and jack up the base, but the issues are not consistent with any values. They change according to political expediency and they rely upon cherry pickings of the Bible for buttressing.

Republicans use social conservative wedge issues to position themselves and then they pivot away from those same issues as needed. This is why Mitt Romney, who is on record saying that he supports a Constitutional amendment to restrict gay marriage rights, keeps sneering that smart reporters will only ask him questions about the economy and not those irrelevant social issues he used to hobble his way across the primary finish line.

Republicans have used the social issues to catapult them into a semblance of relevance since they can’t get there on their failed policies alone — and now it’s time to pivot. In other words, thanks Republican Jesus, but they’re all done with you now. Please go away.

I doubt Republicans are going to be able to sell van Lohuizen’s talking points to the fundamentalists. Instead of admitting their pivot, Republicans will pull a Romney with the public by just refusing to discuss this issue anymore. Get ready for more condescending, smug talking points that the general economy is all they want to talk about (but never the actual result of their economic policies; see Wisconsin) as Republicans hide from their past and their Tea Party base.

Republicans can’t afford to alienate their base on this issue but they can’t win elections if they keep attacking gay rights. If the base catches on to the GOP dropping the gay ball, a Republican Party civil war may be on the horizon.

Pressing question: Is the Republican Jesus really just a pollster, and if so, what is the value of a belief if it changes with the political wind? If our liberty must first be sanctioned by the majority, are we really free?

23 Replies to “Poll Finds Republicans Must Evolve or Die on Gay Marriage”

  1. Until the pharisee element is thrown under the bus for good, they will continue to split the vote with their 20-30%. Consider they don’t want to work with anyone, they need to be on the underside of our shoes, not given overlord status (that’s the only two conditions they understand, the concept of cooperation and working as peers escapes them).

  2. Yet rather than mention the overall favorable polling for marriage equality, the Washington Post felt it necessary to list a few states where opposition is strong – as if the impact of 5 or so states is greater than the impact of the other 45. This is the sort of backward, glass is half empty thinking or which the mainstream media is all too well known.

    I can’t say I will miss the GOP – I am sure something better will take their place and maybe the MSM will have to shape up as well when their benefactors are no more.

  3. …”If the base catches on to the GOP dropping the gay ball, a Republican Party civil war may be on the horizon…”

    And if they don’t drop the ball, then what? They’ll double down with their radical 20% base and “declare” more nasty fights to draw all Americans into their mess…similar to what has happened to the middle east, both radical Jews and Muslim extremist…and if “we the people” demand the arrest of seditious cretins, they’ll scream bloody murder trying to make the majority believe that THEIR rights are next! They’ll turn this whole place in to a modern day mud wrestling pit on the back of Uncle Remus-remember

    …The more Br’er Rabbit fights the Tar-Baby, the more entangled he becomes…

    If the Republican Party is going down, they’ll go the same way they came in…a cobbled mess of No-nothings, robber barons, Whigs and bigoted Free Soilers…zie gezunt!

  4. There is another (3rd option) The GOP can stand for righteousness and be the party that points us to the Lord. [Gen 2:24, Romans 1: 18-26]

    I stand by my comments. As a Christian who loves the Word of the Lord and the God who created marriage as man/woman, I stand by this. And I stand by the Scriptures that clearly states homosexuality is sin. I’m not here to please anyone and not rattled by the responses. Homosexuality is unnatural today and forever. And no, Christians are not called by God to “go along with popular opinion”. And for all those “rights” people out there, The First Amendment also protects my right to state my religious beliefs. Homosexuality was never a civil right. Dr. King never remotely supported it as such. And no amount of historical revisionism, framing, or whatever from the gay movement will change that. I love all people, but as God does, hate homosexuality as I do all sin. Yes, we are all imperfect. But homosexuality is the one sin that people want to re-position as “good”.

    Let’s get this right, homosexuals and their supporters (e.g., MSNBC) flood media with this filth and that is not “forcing”, but individuals expressing their beliefs is? Pleez! Christianity will never legitimize homosexuality. And as an African American, I find it an affront to mention special rights for gays in the same breath as civil rights. I defy you to produce independent document that demonstrates Dr. King, the center of Civil Rights Movement, supported this sin as a “civil right”.

  5. I’m not very good at this, but it appears to me that in their headlong rush to run to deep deep right field to satisfy the Tea thugs, the Republican Party is not taking its people with them. This is very good. This also shows exactly how small the tea party is and why it should not be influencing anything. Speaker Boehner has a bunch of tea bags in his caucus, and we will see where they stand in November. If they all get voted back in then speaker Boehner has to stand up and tell them that it’s not their way or the highway. Because if they think it is public opinion is already greatly against them.

    I’m not sure if gay rights are big enough to prevent people from voting Republican but it may siphon off enough of them

  6. I am totally unsure of what Dr. King has to do with this. He hasn’t said a word about it in 20+ some years.

    Secondly just like what you do in your bedroom is none of my business, what others do in their bedrooms is none of your business.

    Thirdly, the Constitution says that all of us have the right to pursuit of happiness. It does not say that gays cannot marry. Gays should have the same exact right you have ( if you are married) and no special rights. Unless you have special rights, in which case they should have special rights
    And fourthly, you do not lead a nation to God. You can go out and preach to people and try to convert people which is absolutely well and fine. And quite frankly expected of you as a Christian. But this nation does not live under religious laws or religious rule. The nation is not synonymous with God.

    Quite frankly I find that your saying that the media is being flooded with this filth makes me think that it’s really your filth that is flooding the media. The hatred, the dishonesty and the total lack of tolerance for one’s fellow human beings. I think your vision of a God is extraordinarily tiny and in your lifetime you will never comprehend the vastness of a mind that created the universe. I can either but I lean towards thinking that he could care less about who is gay and who isn’t. Just like he doesn’t care who wins the World Series

    I am not gay, but you are entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to basic freedoms to do whatever you want. Gays are entitled to those rights as well. They are no different than you

  7. Beautifully put Shiva.

    They sanction stopping the evolution of thought at any cost, apparently, and think that everyone holds heroes up to the same out of context worship that they do (see Reagan and his tax rates).

    MLK’s words informs us re his thinking on the issue of civil liberties and we apply those thoughts and principles (among others) to modern day.

    As for God being used as a weapon, well, that argument holds zero sway with me. No God worth imagining could be understood by mortals; therefore, the chances that this fellow — or any of these folks who claim to speak for God — really do speak for God are zero.

    The US is not ruled by divine authority, thanks to the founders knowing folks like the above commenter.

    Anyone who claims to speak the word of God while passing judgment on others is exactly what the Bible warns us all about. Ironies abound.

    Lastly, yes, you better bet your vote that the Republicans will try to drop this issue (hint: Mitt Romney already is), so I hope the commenter will take his issues up with them, not us. And this is exactly the sort of reaction I would expect to this news… We will watch as the above commenter slowly gets weaned off of this issue by the great propaganda machine of the Republican party.

  8. As a Christian I find your comments disgusting and immoral – you’re using God to further your political agenda and your language is the inverse of what Jesus taught.

    I suggest that you start doing some REAL Bible study… not the worthless “Read the Bible” junk promoted in most churches, but actually trying to understand what was said and understood in Jesus’ time and how it might connect to today. If you’d spent even a little time in the endeavor, you’d quickly learn that what you think the Bible says isn’t what was said and meant at all (and that the cultures and “world” of Jesus’ time are radically different than anything you’ve been around).

    As to what you’ll learn… you’d learn that you’re wrong. That for instance, you’re focusing on five mistranslated lines of scripture (in denouncing homosexuality) – yet not one word you typed denounced the rich and how they treat the poor – which is a significant portion of the Bible (thousands, if not tens of thousands of lines – I’ve forgotten the count). Those lines, by the way, are those that are NOT mistranslated or misunderstood.

    As to preaching – Christians were never called to preach, but to WITNESS. If you’d started with that stuff in a court, you’d get thrown out because you’re not being a witness. That is what the word means – it does NOT MEAN preaching or proselytizing (or condemning people or passing judgment or denouncing them or “correcting” them). So stop telling people what to think or believe or what you think or believe. That’s not being a witness.

    It is people like you who punch Jesus in the face and then turn around and spit on him… because you don’t recognize him. Every time you do that to a homeless person, you do it to Him. Every time you condemn someone (gay person, the disabled, minorities, whatever), you do it to Him. Every time you support a rich person and their greed and at the same time support hurting the poor (in the name of “the churches should be doing it” or “they brought it on themselves”), you’re denying His own words. As to your preachers and leaders… once you learn what the Bible really says maybe you’ll see just how wrong they are and where they’re trying to lead people.

    Oh, and by the way… you will come to realize that the Bible is a book written by flawed people and therefore filled with flaws… and that in spite of it, the message shines through. I would add that it is the actions and words of people like you that conceal that message, and that people like you drive others away from God and crush souls.

  9. I don’t know… I’m concerned that the pollsters have somehow missed the boat. I think the horror in North Carolina may be an indicator of how bad the dominionists have become. I know in my own county (and many others across this state), if such a law was put before the people it probably would sail right through.

    I’ll believe it if the Republicans are crushed in November. That happens, however, and many of us (especially in areas like ours) may have to go into hiding – I’d then expect extreme violence and rebellion from the “Good Christians” because they didn’t get their way (couldn’t force their version of “Christianity” on others).

  10. I consider your misguided hate a sin and antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. According to the scriptures, I was made in his image, as were you; we are instructed to love one another as God loves us. You defy God when you fail to find love in your heart for any of his children.

    The USofA was founded on freedom of religion as well as from religion. Freedom to love whomever I choose is my business, and it is none of yours. We are not free until all of us are free.

  11. The only “filth” is the hate filled authoritative rhetoric you direct at a population “you choose” to vilify through your personal interpretation of the Christan Bible. You wear “INTOLERANCE” well and are an example of why so many of us find “Christian values” suspect. I would point out the atrocities carried out in the name of religious zealotry. Our democratic government should serve to represent, protect and respect all its citizens. Should MSNBC only present views that mirror your bible based views? Do I, have the right to have my position represented or would you choose to have that silenced? Would you prefer those who have preferences that differ from yours all be branded with a “Scarlet Letter”. Your fear & distaste of alternate lifestyles seems to have affected your ability to respect the rights of others as you demand we respect your own. Being gay is not a “choice”. All the “anti-gay therapy” and “praying away the gay” will only “help you” justify and rationalize your personal rejection & characterization of an issue that displays your total scientific ignorance. BTW, I doubt God, MLK, or “the Christian Community” gave you license to speak for them. I tend to doubt they would find your arrogance, judgmental attitude & co-opting of their message appealing.

  12. Gay rights and gay marriage are areas in which, I could take Barack Obama’s public statements without amendment.

    His earlier stand supporting civil union was in my view, a principled statement of support for gays that recognized the proper legal distincitons in our country.

    Nevertheless I support the President’s changed position on gay marriage. Although I lack Malia and Sasha’s insightful counsel on this matter, the passage of NC propostion One, banning civil unions is an entirely unwarranted assault on coil liberties.

    I cannot think of any reason that what consenting sexual arrangement, preferences, orientaion or what have you are any of my concern.

    I am completly infuriated by the right wingers’ imposition of their views and their morality on sexual congress of any sort between consenting adults.

    My fury toward the right wings’ meddling is matched only by their brain dead assertion that wedding repressed young girls to perverted elders in polygamous unions and bestiality fall within a reasonable definition of consenting adults. In the one case, the issue is more akin to involuntary servile bondage than sexual relationships, in the other case classifying animals as consenting adults is more in line with satire than reasonable discourse on morality.

    The move by the voters of North Carolina to prohibit civil unions can only be seen as a diminuition of liberty and as the establishment of religion as the arbiter of rights in the place of constitutional principles.

  13. Just a quick observation: And let me state that I am also a christian and while I do not condone gay marriage I cannot in anyway shape or form impose my will on others.God himself gives everyone a choice. His word is there for all of us to follow and adhere to, the consequences of disobedience will be ours to bear. Christians are not suppose to victimize the sinner, we are to love them and win them over to God with yes LOVE(not hate)… These Republicans cahoots are the same ones in the same sentence would vote for adulters(John Mccain 2008/Newt Gingrich 2012) but rail an all out war against Gays and Lesbians.. They would continue to stifle and rob the poor to feed their rich friends. Anything that resembles empowerment for minorities are sinful….Reality check all sin is sin in the eyes of God…So a murderer is no worst a sinner than a thief or fornicator. It cant be okay to overlook John Mccain’s sin(divorce yes it is a sin) and highlight The Presidents support of equality.. Cause that’s what is all about..But you wont hear that word Equality used on Fox News and the Rush Limbaugh show would you? And just so you my other Christian brethren know all that scaremongering and hate mongering that is broadcast everyday on those programmes in the name of news and feature is also sinning…No worst than Gay Marriage…..If Gay Marriage is wrong so too is divorce because by the definition you gave about marriage you seemed to overlook the key word..ONE yes Marriage is between one man and one woman.. The Bible also states that God hates divorce…He hates the act and not the actors….If God can forgive a Divorcee he will more than forgive the Gay/Lesbians married or not…

  14. The NC debacle will prove itself over the next few years. Repression is poverty, and NC will slowly become a place to be – from. Can you imagine any company that relies on the goodwill of the whole country choosing to locate their business in NC? “oh, you’re in NC?” NC has banded itself as a state of legal bigotry and will reap the poverty of lost business because of of it.

  15. You do know that the word translated as “sin” in the Bible literally means “to miss the mark” – is an ancient (Greek?) archery term meaning “to miss the bullseye” (in modern usage).

    In other words – to make a mistake. That would be the most accurate meaning in today’s understanding.

    (Refer to my comments about the problems with translation regarding homosexuality being a “sin”.)

    Otherwise, I rather agree with you, but tend to not focus on “sin” as much as on “how do we treat others?”.

  16. Good stuff.

    I’ve thought for a while that the Republicans would have to get down to cleaning up their backyard. You can’t have extremists calling the shots.

    They have to think about who they say they are or remain divided and irrelevant.

  17. They do it all the time. Businesses relocate here all the time because of the promise of low wages and submissive employees in spite of the abysmal attitudes towards minorities, women, LGBT folks, and the poor that you regularly hear from this area.

    They quickly find that the demands of the local elites (especially the “Good Christians”) to be excessive and only a handful have remained (one long-time resident who is politically and business savvy says that only ONE has remained).

    Corporations are driven by only one thing – maximizing profit, and thus attitudes like that in NC aren’t always considered in the decisions. When those who are enriched by said corporations find themselves experiencing pressure (to convert for instance), they then start thinking about other locations.

  18. Great article. The common person is going to become more and more isolated from the Republicans backward social views– thus, even if economically they have a strong point, they lose credibility due to their stance in social issues like gay marriage.

    I believe that we should always hear from both sides of an issue, especially in politics, but its disappointing that we can’t take the ‘Republican’ side seriously because of them weakly justifying most of their social issues purely with religion.

    I’ve noticed the increasing gap between the “crazy” Republicans and the otherwise ‘normal’ Republican. Honestly, the main difference is the age. If Republicans refuse to change towards gay marriage, I believe it does not matter since it is inevitable; the young are growing up alongside the oh-so-feared homosexuality, and they are seeing that discrimination toward them in baseless.

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