After Court Ruling, Republicans Approach Gay Marriage With Caution

What the reaction to the DOMA decision says about the future of the GOP.

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Jason Reed / Reuters

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act last week is opening a rift at the highest levels of the Republican Party, as potential presidential candidates try to balance its increasingly marginal position on gay rights with the tectonic shift in public opinion toward marriage equality.

Possible presidential hopefuls have carefully staked out different and sometimes muddled stances on marriage, with some offering measured responses to the court’s ruling, others downplaying the issue and a third group doubling down on the GOP’s long-held social conservatism.

“As a country, we can agree to disagree,” Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told ABC News after the ruling. “That’s kind of where we are as well. The party is going to have to disagree on some of these issues.” But days later he changed his tune in a visit to South Carolina, an early 2016 primary state where ambivalence on gay marriage doesn’t play well. “If we have no laws on this, people will take it to one extension further—does it have to be humans?” Paul joked to conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck.

For many Republicans, the challenge will be to adopt a stance on marriage that satisfies conservatives without alienating socially moderate swing voters. “I appreciate that many Americans’ attitude towards same-sex marriage have changed in recent years,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio said in a carefully worded statement after the ruling. “I respect the rights of states to allow same-sex marriages, even though I disagree with them. But I also expect that the decisions made by states like Florida to define marriage as between one man and one woman will also be respected.”

Similarly, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie denounced judicial meddling such as the court’s decision as “incredibly insulting” to the bipartisan congressional majorities which passed the DOMA. Like Rubio, Christie argued the issue should be decided by the voters of individual states and their elected representatives. “If the people of New Jersey want to amend our Constitution in order to make same-sex marriage legal and permissible in the state they have every right to do it, and the only people who can give them that opportunity is the New Jersey State Legislature,” he said. “I’d vote against it when I went into the ballot, but I wouldn’t object to it.”

As Paul, Rubio and Christie tried to carve out a politically tenable position, other Republicans have just declined to address the issue. “I haven’t studied their decision,” said Ohio Governor John Kasich. “As I think you all know, I believe in the traditional sense of marriage…I don’t have any more to say than that.” A spokesman for Wisconsin’s Scott Walker told reporter David Catanese that the state’s economic turnaround was “his only priority.” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has also stayed out of the fray.

Then there were the likely presidential contenders who courted the segment of the base whose signal issues are social. Rick Santorum, who surfed a wave of evangelical support to a runner-up finish in the 2012 race, said he was “very disappointed” with the decision, and vowed to “fight for a definition of marriage that gives children their birthright, a mom and a dad, and our country the best chance for a great future.”

But Santorum is more a relic of the GOP’s past than a glimpse of its future. A belief in traditional marriage has been one of the GOP’s guiding principles since the genesis of the gay rights movement. The party platform, adopted at the 2012 convention, calls the “court-ordered redefinition” of marriage an “assault on the foundations of our society.” And while the party is often racked by intramural squabbles over issues like foreign policy or immigration, its rejection of gay marriage has, until recently, been inviolable.

This is now changing. Republicans like Ohio Senator Rob Portman, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski have joined a growing number of Americans to express their support for same-sex marriage, though they have couched their support for gay marriage in the conservative language of federalism. In March, joining a wave of Republican elites urging moderation on marriage, Bush said he believes states should decide whether to allow gay marriages. He also faced down an evangelical confab in Washington last month to argue that “ families don’t look all the time like they used to, and that’s okay.”

To a degree, the careful jockeying mirrors the evolutionary state Democrats were at during 2008 race, when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were debating the finer points of civil unions. At that point both opposed same-sex marriage; since then, the Democratic Party’s elected officials have undergone a swift and total transformation. It is difficult to imagine a serious Democratic contender opposing gay marriage in the years ahead, now that the party has enshrined support for marriage equality into its platform. Obama completed his “evolution” on the issue last year after Vice President Joe Biden announced his own support for gay marriage. When former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed same-sex marriage in March, a month after leaving the Obama administration, she became the last of the top-flight 2016 contenders to come out in support of the concept.

Given the shift in public opinion, many top Republicans are trying to at least minimize the damage the issue can inflict. “The smart candidates will shove this as far down on the issue list as fast as they can,” says Rick Wilson, a Republican campaign consultant in Florida. “It only cuts against us.”

66 comments
mominvermont
mominvermont

SSM inevitably tramples on the religious freedom of American citizens.  In states that pass SSM, businesses that decline to celebrate the marriage of two men are sued.  Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Catholic and other religious people will be forced out of businesses that normally serve weddings such as reception halls, photographers, bakeries, florists, etc.  No matter how trendy it is to vote for gender-exclusive marriage, I hope Republicans continue to support pro-gender marriage and freedom of religion.

MuricanBob
MuricanBob

These gay loving freaks need to leave my MURICA ASAP. God says it himself, if you're gay or are ok with gays then you will automatically die of aids and burn in hell along with your family!!! MURICA! F u you liberal gay freaks!!!

PatrickONeill
PatrickONeill

Christie is a lying hypocrite who vetoed gay equality. If he thinks we will forget that at the polls, he's wrong.

LeslieDF
LeslieDF

HEADLINE:  After Court Ruling, Republicans Approach Gay Marriage With Caution

What do they do?  They ask their parents who they should marry.  Same mistake they've made for years.

(is that the 'incestuous' threat some people talk about - kids will ask their parents who they should marry?)

LJamison
LJamison

All these men say it should be up to the states, others say it should be up to the people...but, one thing has changed since the SCOTUS decision: This is now about 1,137 federal benefits, aka money and security...it's no longer about a governor's personal position, when that position can clearly deny me and my family the ability, if we so choose, to share healthcare benefits, pensions, insurance, taxes and IRAs. Who exactly do they think they are that they can make this determination about thousands of families?

DavidStrayer
DavidStrayer

The GOP will soon find nobody but gun-toting white homophobic bigots in its "tent".  The more exclusionary the party becomes, the less relevant it's likely to be to young voters who are focused on economic and other issues and who don't care to interfere in the ways that other people want to live their own lives.

The group that proclaims itself the party of personal freedom has no concept of freedom, and no respect for personal space.  

SteveGarner
SteveGarner

Christie needs to catch up.  We don't need a constitutional amendment for marriage equality.  Our state constitution already requires it.  See unanimous NJ Supreme Court decision 2006.  Where is this guy from, anyway?

wrp136
wrp136

Dear Mr Christie; How incredibly insulting to validly married gay couples that the bipartisan Congress would overwhelmingly abandon their oaths to uphold the Constitution and instead vote for the piece of thrash which you apparently adore. To put it in terms you will understand, it was like eating a ribeye in front of  concentration camp survivors.

GeorgeVreelandHill
GeorgeVreelandHill

Beware of the GOP. 

They will say or do anything for votes. 

Remember that this is the party of George W. Bush and others who side with money and power. 

What they do is not in your interest. 

Many Republicans have accepted same-sex marriage, but then, their party has been going downhill and they need to get back on the side of the people.

Just beware. 

In fact, we must reject them. 

Remember that so many people have suffered during this bad economy while the Republican Party turned their backs on them. 

The GOP is approaching gay marriage with caution, but it is us who must be cautious about them. 


George Vreeland Hill

InisMagrath
InisMagrath

Dear Republicans: 

By all means, please pander to your right-wing base during your primaries. That will make it so much easier to defeat you in the general elections.

Thanks!

0souldancer
0souldancer

Dear Religious zealots, ponder the following three steps.  Take them in haste!

1)  visit http://www.kayak.com/ to find the best one-way price to a country ruled by sharia law  (use this link to locate your new home http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharia)

2) visit the local newspaper site of your new home to find your new home

3)  leave!

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

So the republican standard nominee, who ever it will be (cough- Ryan-cough) has to choose his words carefully on Marriage Equality.

Just as he will need to do with immigration and  Social Security and Medicare and women's health issues.

I may be seeing a pattern.

DonaldSpitz
DonaldSpitz

Homosexuality should be criminalized. Homosexuals commit crimes against God, against nature, against the Holy Bible and against the human race.

After reading this I now know why God wrote: Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: :26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: :27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 

erasure25
erasure25

@mominvermont You can't be this uninformed, can you?  A jewish, christian, muslim, buddhist,etc. -owned store still has to comply with all City, County, State, and/or Federal laws.  If a City or State has a law on the books that says you cannot discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. when providing commercial services, then you can't do it!  

The act of baking a cake and then selling it for money has no relation to one's practice of religion.  Is baking a cake and then selling it for money part of your religious prayer services?  No it is not.  So it does not fall under "religious freedom."  You can't use "religious freedom" as a blanket cover for violating any random law.  

NP042
NP042

@mominvermont No, it doesn't.  Those businesses are free to serve whomever they want.  And with the (supposedly) free market, consumers are free to not use those businesses for whatever reason they choose.  If that causes those businesses to struggle or even potentially close, then that is people speaking with their $$.


Granted, I'd imagine most reception halls, photogs, bakeries, florists, etc are salivating at the opening of a whole new market segment for them to expand into.  The ones with good business sense, anyways.

notsacredh
notsacredh

MuricanBob, you had me going. I had this image of bib overalls and a meth lab.

I enjoy creative trolling too.



 

JeffreyJohnson
JeffreyJohnson

@MuricanBob You sir, are Anti-Amrican! You would be fighting to keep slavery, too, right? Let me give you a little advice; take one class, anywhere you'd like, just one..... learning will set you free. Freedom and justice for all! Happy Independence Day America! 

DavidStrayer
DavidStrayer

@0souldancer


FYI:

"I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this 
country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I 
must believe in "A," "B," "C" and "D." Just who do they think they are? 
And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral 
beliefs to me?"

"Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the 
[Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a 
terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me."

"When you say "radical right" today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye."

- Barry Goldwater  

notsacredh
notsacredh

I don't think they realize that what they say in Kentucky or Alabama is also reported in New York and Pennsylvania. They'll tripthemselves up every time because they're playing to all audiences.

MuricanBob
MuricanBob

Brother Donald, you deserve ALL the likes! Lol jk please get your head out your bum hole

LeslieDF
LeslieDF

@DonaldSpitz 

You had to read an article in TIME to "now know why God wrote Leviticus..."

Thanks for sharing.  Next week's book report will be on the subject of . . .

clell65619
clell65619

Are you sure you want to quote Leviticus Donnie?  Really?  Have you read the whole thing and noticed just how many things you are going to burn in hell for?

I mean, you aren't a hypocrite are you Donnie?

JohnDoyle
JohnDoyle

@DonaldSpitz 1)  The Bible was written by man, not god.  2)  The author of Romans - St. Paul - was gay.  3) Maybe you should read Phillipians 2:12 and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

JeffJankowiak
JeffJankowiak

@DonaldSpitz You are the one which should be criminalized in this country.  Your evil twisting of GOD's love and words to cause harm to a minority is just shameful.   I am sure you live in some backwater place so I will cut you a bit of slack.  But my suggestion to you is to be careful when you are playing with Mommies keyboard. 

georgeolds
georgeolds

@DonaldSpitz Good luck with your religionism campaign. You're gonna need it because of the Establishment Clause.

If America were a theocracy, maybe you'd have a point. It isn't and you don't.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@DonaldSpitz As soon as you stone someone to death for failing to be a Virgin on their wedding day, you can lecture us on God's law. Until then, you're just another infidel.

MementoMori
MementoMori

@DonaldSpitz You left off the other 75 thing Leviticus bans.  Here's the full list:

1.       Burning any yeast or honey in offerings to God (2:11)

2.       Failing to include salt in offerings to God (2:13)

3.       Eating fat (3:17)

4.       Eating blood (3:17)

5.       Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve witnessed (5:1)

6.       Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve been told about (5:1)

7.       Touching an unclean animal (5:2)

8.       Carelessly making an oath (5:4)

9.       Deceiving a neighbour about something trusted to them (6:2)

10.   Finding lost property and lying about it (6:3)

11.   Bringing unauthorised fire before God (10:1)

12.   Letting your hair become unkempt (10:6)

13.   Tearing your clothes (10:6)

14.   Drinking alcohol in holy places (bit of a problem for Catholics, this ‘un) (10:9)

15.   Eating an animal which doesn’t both chew cud and has a divided hoof (cf: camel, rabbit, pig) (11:4-7)

16.   Touching the carcass of any of the above (problems here for rugby) (11:8)

17.   Eating – or touching the carcass of – any seafood without fins or scales (11:10-12)

18.   Eating – or touching the carcass of - eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, any kind of black kite, any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat. (11:13-19)

19.   Eating – or touching the carcass of – flying insects with four legs, unless those legs are jointed (11:20-22)

20.   Eating any animal which walks on all four and has paws (good news for cats) (11:27)

21.   Eating – or touching the carcass of – the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon (11:29)

22.   Eating – or touching the carcass of – any creature which crawls on many legs, or its belly (11:41-42)

23.   Going to church within 33 days after giving birth to a boy (12:4)

24.   Going to church within 66 days after giving birth to a girl (12:5)

25.   Having sex with your mother (18:7)

26.   Having sex with your father’s wife (18:8)

27.   Having sex with your sister (18:9)

28.   Having sex with your granddaughter (18:10)

29.   Having sex with your half-sister (18:11)

30.   Having sex with your biological aunt (18:12-13)

31.   Having sex with your uncle’s wife (18:14)

32.   Having sex with your daughter-in-law (18:15)

33.   Having sex with your sister-in-law (18:16)

34.   Having sex with a woman and also having sex with her daughter or granddaughter (bad news for Alan Clark) (18:17)

35.   Marrying your wife’s sister while your wife still lives (18:18)

36.   Having sex with a woman during her period (18:19)

37.   Having sex with your neighbour’s wife (18:20)

38.   Giving your children to be sacrificed to Molek (18:21)

39.   Having sex with a man “as one does with a woman” (18:22)

40.   Having sex with an animal (18:23)

41.   Making idols or “metal gods” (19:4)

42.   Reaping to the very edges of a field (19:9)

43.   Picking up grapes that have fallen in your  vineyard (19:10)

44.   Stealing (19:11)

45.   Lying (19:11)

46.   Swearing falsely on God’s name (19:12)

47.   Defrauding your neighbour (19:13)

48.   Holding back the wages of an employee overnight (not well observed these days) (19:13)

49.   Cursing the deaf or abusing the blind (19:14)

50.   Perverting justice, showing partiality to either the poor or the rich (19:15)

51.   Spreading slander (19:16)

52.   Doing anything to endanger a neighbour’s life (19:16)

53.   Seeking revenge or bearing a grudge (19:18)

54.   Mixing fabrics in clothing (19:19)

55.   Cross-breeding animals (19:19)

56.   Planting different seeds in the same field (19:19)

57.   Sleeping with another man’s slave (19:20)

58.   Eating fruit from a tree within four years of planting it (19:23)

59.   Practising divination or seeking omens (tut, tut astrology) (19:26)

60.   Trimming your beard (19:27)

61.   Cutting your hair at the sides (19:27)

62.   Getting tattoos (19:28)

63.   Making your daughter prostitute herself (19:29)

64.   Turning to mediums or spiritualists (19:31)

65.   Not standing in the presence of the elderly (19:32)

66.   Mistreating foreigners – “the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born”  (19:33-34)

67.   Using dishonest weights and scales (19:35-36)

68.   Cursing your father or mother (punishable by death) (20:9)

69.   Marrying a prostitute, divorcee or widow if you are a priest (21:7,13)

70.   Entering a place where there’s a dead body as a priest (21:11)

71.   Slaughtering a cow/sheep and its young on the same day (22:28)

72.   Working on the Sabbath (23:3)

73.   Blasphemy (punishable by stoning to death) (24:14)

74.   Inflicting an injury; killing someone else’s animal; killing a person must be punished in kind (24:17-22)

75.   Selling land permanently (25:23)

76.   Selling an Israelite as a slave (foreigners are fine) (25:42)

MuricanBob
MuricanBob

Just like all these other extreme republicans who oppose gay marriage. Help me fight this ignorance, please.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

I think Rance Whatshisface does, which is why he wants fewer primary debates. Please the base, and I do mean base, and turn off the majority of voters.

Take a popular position and the crowd will boo you down.

And believe me it isn't just the south that has that group. The Paul camp has taken over the Minnesota republican party and they are plenty extreme.

clell65619
clell65619

Sure he does.  Its just that his hat hides it.

notsacredh
notsacredh

They just cherry pick the things they happen to agree with and ignore the others. The Bible is a buffet to them. I'll take that and that, but I don't want that or that.

formerlyjames
formerlyjames

@MementoMori @DonaldSpitz 

My favorite is the sin of Onan who god slew for failing to impregnate his widowed sister in law by spilling his seed on the ground, but whose failure evolved into prohibitions against masturbation.  

notsacredh
notsacredh

That's why I'm an atheist. Religions just have too many rules.

MuricanBob
MuricanBob

Not even just the reps it's anyone who really hates these gays just because "god" says it's wrong

notsacredh
notsacredh

NP042, nice explanation. The sound you hear is one hand clapping.

NP042
NP042

@formerlyjames @MementoMori @DonaldSpitz My understanding, from a Catholic school education, was that the prohibition against masturbation came about because the Jews were (are) waiting for the Messiah to come (heh) still.  Said Messiah could potentially be contained within the "spilled seed."


The Catholic prohibition now stems from their call for chastity for all; that is, sex only with your spouse after marriage, with an additional caveat to be "open" to conception, ie no artificial contraception.  


Unfortunately, the basis for a lot of this get's lost in the media because it's often the Protestants who are most vocal against same-sex marriage.  Thankfully, all of this is only considered doctrine (general beliefs and teachings) and not dogma, (specific, required beliefs such as the Resurrection) so my understanding is that individuals are free to make their own decisions on their personal beliefs.

notsacredh
notsacredh

Spilling his seed on the ground? I aim for the headboard. Distance is a worthy goal.

MuricanBob
MuricanBob

Thank you. The poorest parody I could come up with. But actually it's pretty accurate to the real deal! Lol

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@sacredh I think he's just doing a really poor parody.

Or at least that's what I hope

notsacredh
notsacredh

MuricanBob, I sense a little anxiety. Have you ever been probed by aliens?  Did you meet them in a bar and were they wearing flannel shirts? Instead of a spaceship were they driving a pickup truck with a rebel flag in the back window? Did they have bad teeth? They haven't called back. Have they?

MuricanBob
MuricanBob

That's why you're going to burn in hell you gay loving freak!! FREAK!!!! Liberal freak!!!! It says right there in the bible, written by god himself!! MURICA!!!

gysgt213
gysgt213

@sacredh Yes.  These rules are exhausting to read let alone follow.

TyPollard
TyPollard

@sacredh 

Yeah, but apparently you only have to pay attention to the important one.

MementoMori
MementoMori

@sacredh I plan to "reap to the edges of the field" as soon as possible.

If ya know what I mean...

notsacredh
notsacredh

Half of their prohibitions just happened to be on my "Bucket List".