Just as Democratic candidates used to play footsie with civil unions and marriage equality, GOP contenders for the presidency in 2016 are finding they have to walk the line between changing public opinion on marriage equality and their evangelical base. The Hill reports:
Social conservatives traditionally turn out at high levels in early primary and caucus states, making it extremely risky for a Republican to navigate gay rights in general, and gay marriage in particular. “Any presidential candidate seeking the Republican Party nomination in 2016 has to be very careful not to poke a stick in the eye of that base vote in any state,” said Gary Marx, executive director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. If the Republican party “abandons marriage evangelicals will either sit the elections out completely — or move to create a third party,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “Either option puts Republicans on the path to a permanent minority.”
This is the logical progression from their use of gay marriage as a wedge issue against the democrats for so many years. The shoe is now solidly on the other foot.