In just a few weeks the Supreme Court will hear arguments for and against the overturning of California’s gay marriage ban – Proposition 8. However, in the court of public opinion the argument has been raging for years but has recently really started to heat up. Since Proposition 8 was proposed – groups opposed to the law have spent almost $45 million (4 times as much as those in favor of the law) trying to convince California voters to either vote against the law or after it was passed – to have the law overturned. California’s gay marriage fight has since spilled over into a national discourse and recently into a fight within the Republican Party.
This week conservatives from all over the country will gather at one of the largest conservative conventions in the country – CPAC. It is time for conservatives to gather, share ideas, be inspired, and plot the future course of the conservative movement. This year CPAC has chosen not to allow Republican gay rights groups, namely GOProud and Log Cabin Republicans, to sponsor the event. This decision was based on the fact that both groups now support same-sex marriage and not, as many have tried to say, because CPAC is anti-gay. All Republican members of the gay community are invited and are more than welcome to attend the event as they have done in the past.
Since the decision was made at least one speaker who was slated to speak, S.E. Cupp, has pulled out of the event citing the fact that gay Republican groups were not allowed to sponsor. In the same week a group of 131 prominent Republicans filed a “friend of the court brief” supporting gay marriage in the Proposition 8 Supreme Court case. With these two incidences, and as many within the Republican Party are trying to figure out a way to reinvent the party, a firestorm has been set off within many Republican circles.
Many Republicans, especially younger Republicans, think that in order for the party to evolve it needs to adopt a platform that embraces gay marriage. These individuals believe that if the party is going to join the 21st century they must adapt to the changing culture. However, taking such a view can be dangerous.
The Republican base is made up in large part by Christians and Christians see gay marriage and homosexuality as a moral issue – much like they see abortion as a moral issue. Regardless of how much the culture tries to push or embrace homosexuality or gay marriage – Christians will continue to see it as immoral and will not budge their view on the issue. By adopting a platform that embraces gay marriage the Republican Party runs a high risk of losing the votes of their strongest supporters.
If Republicans think that they can win more votes by changing with the times – they will also need to change their platform on abortion. According to recent polls even more people support abortion than support gay marriage and if they really want to attract socially moderate individuals to the party then they are going to have to change their platforms on both gay marriage and abortion. The problem is, if they change both of these platforms not only will they lose the Christian vote they will also lose the entire conservative movement’s vote.
Changing the Republican Party’s entire platform simply to pander to individuals in the hopes of winning votes and becoming socially “cool” again is a recipe for disaster. Am I saying that the Republican Party should go stale and refuse to change at all? Absolutely not! The party can continue to change and evolve without compromising their core values.