The GOP's Inner Debate on Gay Marriage

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A GOP pollster sent out a memo arguing for the Republican party to change its stance on gay marriage at the same time that two of the party's more high profile members made sure to position themselves against it after the President's big week. 

An email from Jan van Lohuizen, a GOP pollster who worked on George Bush's 2004 reelection campaign, has made the rounds on the blogs today for arguing that Republicans have to change their stance on gay marriage. Lohuizen uses recent polling data to make his case that, while Democrats support gay marriage more than Republicans, the younger members of the party are becoming more tolerant. Support for gay marriage, "has grown at an accelerated rate with no sign of slowing down." Obviously this is a response to President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage earlier this week. Lohuizen even offered a sample quote for a Republican party member to use when coming out in support of gay marriage. 

Some of the top Republican officials who probably received the email have already made comments to align themselves with the more traditional, predictably Republican stance against gay marriage. Mitt Romney clarified where he stands during his Liberty University commencement speech on Saturday (the same speech he used to clarify his opinion on Chik-Fil-A). He didn't focus on the issue during his speech, but made sure to get his message across loud and clear for the crowd when he said, "Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman." Liberty University is a Christian university, and the speech was Romney's big coming out party for the Evangelical Christian crowd of the Republican party. Traditional thinking puts Liberty as the last likely place for Mitt to offer a progressive stance on gay marriage. 

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Sen. Rand Paul also took a shot at the President's gay marriage endorsement in a speech he gave on Friday. Speaking in front of the Faith and Freedom Coalition on Friday, Paul said, “Call me cynical, but I wasn't sure his views on marriage could get any gayer." This is not how the Republican party is going to appeal itself to gay marriage supporters! You can listen to Paul's remarks on gay marriage starting around 5:14 of this video:

This isn't going to be an overnight change for the party, but an influential pollster arguing for the Republican's to embrace marriage equality is the one of the biggest steps the party's seen. “As people who promote personal responsibility, family values, commitment and stability, and emphasize freedom and limited government," Lohuizen writes, "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."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.