Social Conservatives Campaign Against Republicans Who Endorsed Same-Sex Marriage

Opponents of marriage equality clearly don't like the idea of a "big tent" in the GOP on the issue.

Elephants Fighting

Buzzfeed’s Chris Greidner reports that conservative groups opposed to same-sex marriage are actively campaigning against Republicans who have endorsed same-sex marriage:

WASHINGTON — Conservative activists are launching “an unprecedented campaign” against three Republican candidates — two of whom are out gay men — because of their support for marriage equality and abortion.

The National Organization for Marriage, Family Research Council Action, and CitizenLink “will mount a concerted effort to urge voters to refuse to cast ballots” for Republican House candidates Carl DeMaio in California and Richard Tisei in Massachusetts and Republican Senate candidate Monica Wehby in Oregon, according to a letter sent to Republican congressional and campaign leaders on Thursday.

“We cannot in good conscience urge our members and fellow citizens to support candidates like DeMaio, Tisei or Wehby,” the presidents of the three groups write. “They are wrong on critical, foundational issues of importance to the American people. Worse, as occupants of high office they will secure a platform in the media to advance their flawed ideology and serve as terrible role models for young people who will inevitably be encouraged to emulate them.”

DeMaio and Tisei are the only out LGBT federal candidates from the Republican Party to be appearing on the ballot this fall.

“The Republican Party platform is a ‘statement of who we are and what we believe.’ Thus, the platform supports the truth of marriage as the union of husband and wife, and recognizes the sanctity and dignity of human life,” NOM President Brian S. Brown said in a statement.

Brown called it “extremely disappointing” to see candidates supported “who reject the party’s principled positions on these and other core issues.”

Of the effort to urge people to oppose DeMaio, Tisei, and Wehby, he said, “We cannot sit by when people calling themselves Republicans seek high office while espousing positions that are antithetical to the overwhelming majority of Republicans.”

The letter was sent to House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Greg Walden, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran, and others in Republican congressional leadership.

On some level, I suppose, it isn’t surprising to see groups opposed to marriage equality campaigning against candidates who favor it, but it is highly unusual to see this happening in the context of a General Election campaign. If this were a primary where DeMaio, Tisei, and Wehby were up against other, more conservative, candidates, as I believe each of them were earlier this year, then what these groups are doing would be standard operating procedure. In the context of a General Election, though, it is highly unusual because, in effect, these groups are telling the people that listen to them to either stay home on Election Day or even to vote for the Democratic candidate, although that would seem to be a counterproductive strategy since the Democratic candidates in these races all likely support marriage equality as well.

It’s also worth noting that each of the candidates involved in this targeting campaign are running for Federal office. Even if they did manage to win, which seems at least possible in the case of DeMaio and Tisei but rather unlikely at this point in the case of Wehby, they really wouldn’t have much of anything to do regarding the issue of marriage equality. With the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor the law of the land, there really isn’t anything that Congress will be considering regarding the marriage issue at any point in the future. To the extent there is legislative action to be taken on the issue, it will be at the state level and even that action may end up being pre-empted by whatever the Supreme Court ends up doing with the cases that are before it from Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Since the marriage issue is basically irrelevant from the perspective of a Federal legislator, the only thing that these groups are doing is punishing these three candidates for daring to dissent from Republican orthodoxy on the issue of same-sex marriage.

If nothing else, this campaign should demonstrate quite clearly that these groups and the people who support them want nothing to do with the idea of a “big tent” in the Republican Party on the issue of marriage equality. Either you oppose same-sex marriage, or they will try to take you out, even if it means electing a Democrat. Why Republicans continue to pander to social conservatives when they act like this is beyond me.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2014, Congress, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    Oregon is thought of as a blue state but it wasn’t always that way. We used to have Republican State wide officer holders and Republican Senators. About a decade and a half ago Social Conservatives hijacked the Republican Party in the State. The Republicans have not held a State wide issue since then. They did control the State House and Senate fr a few years and used that opportunity to pass laws that offended a majority of Oregonians.
    This will not change in 2014.

  2. In the context of a General Election, though, it is highly unusual because, in effect, these groups are telling the people that listen to them to either stay home on Election Day or even to vote for the Democratic candidate, although that would seem to be a counterproductive strategy since the Democratic candidates in these races all likely support marriage equality as well.

    It’s being done “Pour encourager les autres”. The Republicans may lose this time, but whoever runs for the seat in two years will remember what happened last time.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    I’m failing to see any contradiction. As you note, Doug, there is no federal legislative action contemplated so it does their cause no harm to elect Dems who will do nothing as opposed to Reps who will do nothing. They are sending a message to Rs against the next primary, perhaps for a state office where it does matter. But, and this is the critical consideration, the rubes will contribute money for this campaign.

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    I might add that Monica Wehby has tried to distance herself from the Social Conservatives. She’s trying to have it both ways by saying while she personally agrees with them she doesn’t think it’s the governments business – not likely to please anyone.
    In addition, although she is a pediatric neurologist she has a well publicized history of emotional instability where the police were involved. The Koch brothers were supporting her initially but have pulled all their October ad buys.

  5. ernieyeball says:

    Why Republicans continue to pander to social conservatives when they act like this is beyond me.

    No it isn’t. I think you are smarter and more perceptive than that.

  6. steve q says:

    “Why Republicans continue to pander to social conservatives when they act like this is beyond me.”

    Come down here to the confederacy, Doug, and we’ll tour a few trailer parks and i’ll introduce you to the GOP base.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    If nothing else, this campaign should demonstrate quite clearly that these groups and the people who support them want nothing to do with the idea of a “big tent” in the Republican Party on the issue of marriage equality.

    It makes sense Doug. If you vote for someone who is for something you adamantly oppose, where is the down side in supporting it? I felt the same way about the invasion of Iraq. Everybody has a line.

    Tell me I was wrong.

  8. Mikey says:

    These bigots hate gays so much they’d rather elect Democrats, with whom they disagree on 100% of issues, than fellow Republicans, with whom they agree on every issue except this one. Homophobia trumps all.

    And before anyone tries to tell me “they don’t hate gays, they just want to preserve traditional marriage,” I will issue a pre-emptive “Bullshit!” NOM and FRC are hate organizations, created from hate to spread hate. They have a single mission: to ensure gays do not ever achieve equality.

  9. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    There’s no mystery at all, Doug. Social conservatives are the linchpin that holds together your “tax-the-poor-to-spare-the-rich” fiscal conservative wet dreams. Neither the fiscal nor social conservatives are a large enough bloc to go alone (in much the same ways as each extreme element on the left wasn’t in the 70s and 80s).

    Eventually, you will both cannibalize the other cohort, and a new conservative philosophy will rise out of the ashes–or at least that’s what the rest of us are hoping. “That which you must do, go and do quickly.” (Bonus points for people who know who said that, to whom, and when.)

  10. EddieInCA says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker:

    “That which you must do, go and do quickly.” (Bonus points for people who know who said that, to whom, and when.)

    Ah…. The Catholic upbringing was good for something…..

    That quote would have been said by Jesus, to Judas, after Judas had some bread offered by Jesus. Jesus was forshadowing Judas’ betrayal.

    What do I win?

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  13. Alex says:

    With the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor the law of the land, there really isn’t anything that Congress will be considering regarding the marriage issue at any point in the future.

    That’s not entirely true. There’s still the question of whether or not the Federal government should recognize, say, a same-sex couple who married in Massachusetts but live in Texas as married. For the most part, Federal law is silent on this matter (and Windsor didn’t directly address it) but the Obama administration has chosen to interpret every law as expansively as possible so as to recognize legal marriages wherever the couple may live.

    The law doesn’t need to remain silent – Congress could amend laws saying that the Federal government may only recognize marriages that are valid in the state of residence (Social Security is one of the few laws that says exactly that). In fact, there’s been at least one bill proposed in Congress that would do this broadly across all Federal departments.

  14. C. Clavin says:

    The National Organization for Marriage, Family Research Council Action, and CitizenLink are not Conservative groups. They are Republicanists. And they are homophobes…bigots.
    Marriage equality is a Conservative position. Abridging individual freedoms, and using big government to do it, is what Republicans do.

  15. Andre Kenji says:

    The idea that you are married in one state but not on another is one of the most ludicrous things that I´ve ever heard.

  16. Mu says:

    From the SoCon’s view point it’s not only unsurprising but essential. They’re better off controlling the message of the GOP that holds only 40% of the seats than having little or no say in a Republican majority.

  17. Mikey says:

    @Andre Kenji: You’d think the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution, which reads

    Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.

    would automatically mean a marriage valid in one state is valid in all. And in fact for heterosexual marriages this is the case. But for some reason it doesn’t apply to same-sex marriages.

    I agree with you, it’s ridiculous.

  18. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: Bonus points–just like I said. What ever your score was, double it!

  19. EddieinCA says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Damn. I was hoping for some good scotch.

  20. grumpy realist says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker: Either Macbeth to his lady, or vice versa. I forget which one of them did the actual deed of bumping off Duncan.

  21. grumpy realist says:

    @EddieInCA: Ha, I didn’t even remember that one. I could have sworn there’s a line very equivalent in Macbeth, however.

  22. Anonne says:

    @Mikey:
    For people who supposedly worship the Constitution, it’s a huge hypocrisy. They want to be literalists when it suits them. On this they will infer all kinds of things just to keep gay people from having equal legal rights.

  23. MikeSJ says:

    The backbone of this base is older, rural, less educated Southerners.

    The key word here is “older”.

    Give it 20 years and this social movement will be looked back on in the same way as the school segregation crisis of the 50’s and 60’s.

    Just an ugly chapter in American history that belongs in the history books.

  24. JohnMcC says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker: Lady MacBeth to Lord MacB when she ordered him to go kill the King in his sleep.

    Recited totally from memory. Let’s check:

    @grumpy realist: We were wrong. It is Jesus’ instructions to Judas (John 13) and the quote we were thinking of is:

    If t’were done, when ’tis done is best t’were done swiftly. Act 1, Scene 7

    Fun on the inner-tubes!