Democrats, Republicans, and Marriage Equality

Written by scott on March 29th, 2013

Gay Wedding - HandsDemocrats, who as recently as a year or two ago seemed mostly lukewarm to gay rights and marriage equality, have made astounding progress in the last 12 months. David Weigel at Slate looks at their evolution:

The new Democratic advocates for SSM fall into two camps. The first consists of people who always liked the idea of this but worried about losing national elections. In his memoir, Democratic consultant Bob Shrum remembers John Kerry fretting that the Massachusetts Supreme Court had forced Democrats to talk about gay marriage before they were ready to. “Why couldn’t they just wait a year?” he asked Shrum, mournfully. The second camp consists of people who really do oppose the idea of gay people getting married. Republicans argued that this second camp was tiny, and that liberals were hiding behind it. They were right!

Salon charts political courage (and lack there-of) in the timing of politicians’ announcements of support for marriage equality:

With politicians tripping themselves to come out in support of marriage equality, its hard to keep track of who has been at the vanguard of LGBT rights and who is just trying to ride some coattails. Fortunately Salon has produced this handy Gay Marriage Courage-Meter, which shows how much bravery various representatives displayed by supporting same-sex marriage.

I’m surprised to see Gavin Newsom’s not in the first column; and don’t I remember Feinstein fretting over Newsom’s act as being too soon? I’d flip these two.

Edge Boston reports on how politicians are rushing to catch up to the sea-change in public opinion on the issue:

“They’re reflecting what they’re seeing in the polls – except the most extreme of the Republican base,” former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican who supports gay marriage, said in an interview. “From a purely political perspective, if you want to be a leader of the future, you look at the next generation. They are overwhelmingly in favor of this.”

But Joshua Green at Bloomberg Businessweek doesn’t see much of a change for the GOP, at least not before 2016:

But Messina doesn’t believe these problems portend a flip to support for gay marriage, at least not for 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls. He bases this belief on the attitudes of Republican primary voters, which increasingly diverge from those of other Americans. The change in public opinion will force an accommodation, he predicts, but one that stops short of endorsing marriage equality. “Given who their primary electorate is and given the fact that the ABC/Washington Post poll showed that 60 percent of older Republican primary voters still oppose it,” he said, “I think you will see people talk less about it. But I don’t think they’re showing any signs of moderating.”

And over at the Daily Show, John Stewart discusses the Senators who have recently flipped for marriage equality. reports:

Jon Stewart looks at the wave of lawmakers jumping on the marriage equality train following Senator Rob Portman’s announcement, and those who have reaffirmed their opposition. “It has all the makings of a historic shift in public opinion, and the most boring Gay Pride float ever.”


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