Some Republicans believe that their reputation for intolerance is costing the party the votes of the next generation of Americans. But that argument got harder to make when California, one of the most liberal states in the country, passed a ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage.
But the next generation of Californians, even after the dreadful No on 8 campaign, still favored marriage equality by huge margins. Ramesh may be right that gay-bashing can still produce some small gains for the GOP (although in most states, it cannot be banned any more than it has been), but California sure didn't disprove the generational argument.
And assume also that banning marriage rights is popular for a while. Does the GOP not realize that it needs openly gay people in its ranks to show that it is not completely anachronistic or regional?
Where are the openly gay conservative writers and congressmen and women? Where are the openly gay governors or state reps? The trouble is: it's almost impossible to find any gay writers or thinkers or pols on the right who oppose marriage rights. Take someone like Jamie Kirchick, a trouble-shooting neocon trouble-maker and rising star among conservative writers. But Jamie, like almost every other gay conservative, supports gay marriage. How could a gay conservative oppose it? Yes, we can have disagreements about how and why to support it. But it tells you something important that the only gay people that the right can now attract are closet-cases, harking back to a previous era. Oh, and Larry Craig and Ted Haggard.
The sad truth is: the GOP is not just opposed to marriage equality, it is deeply hostile to and uncomfortable among openly gay people in general. This isn't true of many conservatives and Republicans in private, may of whom are completely at ease with gays. But even those who see us a equal human beings are required in public to pretend otherwise, a state of affairs that makes it impossible for an adjusted homosexual under the age of forty to feel at home there. Until the GOP enters the 21st century, as the Tories have done in Britain, they won't look normal enough to appeal in any broad way to the next generation. And that includes the straights.