by Patrick Appel

Kirchick urges Republicans to stop fighting gay rights:

Recovering from an otherwise devastating election, some conservatives believe they have found a silver lining amidst the rubble: the continuing salience of “culture war” issues in general, and the subject of gay rights in particular. At a National Review post-election symposium seeking to answer the question, “Whither Conservatism?” social conservatives Maggie Gallagher, Jeffrey Bell and Ed Whelan all encouraged conservatives to stress gay issues even more in the future, and most everyone in the audience nodded in agreement.

Much of that crowd is hopeless, I'm afraid. It's going to take a generation's worth of electoral defeats before they wake up. Jamie continues:

Rich Lowry, the editor of that magazine, recently wrote a column declaring “No way, no how,” to those calling for a détente in the battle over gay marriage and abortion. And last month, Richard Cizik, the former chief lobbyist of the National Association of Evangelicals, was fired after he expressed support for gay civil unions, a foreboding sign that the country’s politically active evangelicals do not intend to abandon their hard-line stance against any legal recognition of gay relationships.

At first glance, social conservatives have reason for optimism. In November, Arkansas voters overwhelmingly passed a law banning gay adoption and anti-gay marriage amendments succeeded in Florida, Arizona and, California, the latter victory giving conservatives the most hope seeing that it occurred in the country’s most populous (and one of its most liberal) states. Some conservatives have grown drunk off the wine of this triumph, citing the 70% support among African-Americans to ban gay marriage as a sign that a significant portion of this most reliable of Democratic voting blocs could potentially be poached if the GOP stresses its anti-gay bona fides even more. While these victories at the polls may be heartening to the base of the Republican Party, the continued propagation of policies opposed to the advancement of the gay rights agenda will doom the GOP for a generation.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.