The GOP Won’t Change On Same-Sex Marriage Any Time Soon
Jamelle Bouie looks at the recent slight dip in Rob Portman’s approval ratings in the wake of his endorsement of same-sex marriage, and finds a reason to believe that Republican politicians are going to be slow to endorse same-sex marriage:
[O]nly 48 percent of Ohio voters support same-sex marriage, compared to the slight majority support that exists nationwide. But it does explain why Republicans — who may privately favor marriage equality — aren’t going to announce their support anytime soon. Social conservatives are still an important group within the Republican Party. They provide donors and volunteers, and are a key constituency in GOP nomination contests at all levels.
Explicit support for same-sex marriage might appeal to the general public, but it alienates a large portion of the Republican base. Rob Portman can’t take back his endorsement, but it’s almost certainly true that other lawmakers have noticed Portman’s declining popularity, and will act accordingly.
Outside of individual states in the Northeast and the west where Republicans tend to be more libertarian when it comes to social issues, I think Bouie is likely correct here. The GOP remains a socially conservative party by and large, and it’s going to take a significantly larger amount of social change to move the party away from its position on marriage equality at this moment. The beginnings are there, and I think we’re at least at the point where Republicans who support marriage equality are not shunned from the party altogether, but for many “traditional marriage” advocates, the GOP is doubt to be their last redoubt in a battle that they are destined to lose.