GOP’s Marry-Go-Round

Barb Wire

By Tony Perkins

Family Research Council — Whoever declared an end to the marriage debate must not have consulted Republicans. While the media is busy eulogizing one of the hottest issues of the last 15 years, those who vote for GOP candidates are saying, “not so fast!” Turns out, pronouncing marriage dead is convenient — but not credible.

Earlier this spring, FRC and American Values set out to gauge how the Republican base really feels about an issue that, until recently, was non-negotiable in the GOP. With help from Wilson Research Strategies, we asked a couple of straightforward questions about the party’s core values — and what pollsters found might surprise you. Public opinion on marriage isn’t the runaway train that liberals want you to believe it is. A whopping 82% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believe marriage “should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman.”

And respondents didn’t just agree with that statement— 74% strongly agreed. What’s more, they’re tired of their elected leaders ignoring the issue — or worse, pushing the party in the opposite direction. Three-quarters (75%) of respondents rejected the idea that “politicians should support the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples” (with 67% strongly agreeing). That should be a wake-up call to the GOP Establishment, which, for the last few years, has thrown its weight behind some highly controversial candidates under the guise of “building a bigger tent.” As far as the base is concerned, that’s an incredibly short-sighted strategy that does more to divide the party than unite it. Clearly, the vast majority of the GOP continues to see marriage a non-negotiable plank of the national platform and want to see their elected officials uphold it as the standard to stand for, encourage, and promote in law.

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And our poll isn’t the only one debunking the “inevitability” argument. Earlier this month, Rasmussen shocked people with a poll of both liberal and conservative voters that revealed the two sides were in a statistical dead heat — with 43% opposed and 43% in favor of same-sex “marriage.” Obviously the media, the Left’s ring bearer in this debate, is a false measure of public opinion. Like too many moderate Republicans and cultural elites, the press is only seeing what it wants to see.

To anyone paying close attention, these results shouldn’t come as a surprise — especially considering what’s taken place in recent months. Republican voters, like everyone else, have seen firsthand that redefining marriage is the greatest threat to our God-given rights to freely speak, worship, and work. It took the public shaming of Mozilla Firefox CEO Brendan Eich, Craig James, Dr. Angela McCaskill, and others, but Americans are starting to realize that marriage is about a whole lot more than two people who love each other. It’s about conscience rights and religious liberty. It’s about the ability to engage in the political process without fear of losing your livelihood. And it’s about the great American tradition of faith, family, and time-honored traditions. Someone has to stand for those — and thank goodness most conservatives still are.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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