By Tony Perkins
A new poll shows that not only is the debate over marriage far from over, but it now threatens the reelection prospects of a Republican senator who stunned his constituents last year by endorsing marriage’s redefinition. While many in the media are declaring the marriage debate over, those who vote in GOP primaries are again saying, “Not so fast!”
My good friend Phil Burress with Citizens for Community Values Action (CCVA) just released the new survey that asked Ohio Republican likely voters whether they support Senator Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) move to support same-sex “marriage.” Only 15% of Republican voters supported his decision compared to 72% who opposed his decision to abandon natural marriage. “Senator Portman has alienated conservatives and is very likely to lose in 2016 because the conservative base will not vote for him. Senator Portman should step down before the 2016 election so that conservatives can support a pro-life / pro-natural marriage candidate,” CCVA Chairman Burress told the media. “In short, Portman is placing a Senate seat at risk to lose to a potential liberal Democrat.”
Burress recalls that former Senator Mike DeWine lost his reelection in 2006 after he announced his opposition to the Ohio Marriage Amendment. DeWine eventually endorsed the amendment and went on to become Ohio’s Attorney General. CCVA’s survey findings reflect recent national polling.
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Earlier this spring, FRC and American Values set out to gauge how the Republican base really feels about marriage. The survey conducted by WPA Opinion Research found 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 wakeup call not just to Senator Portman but to the GOP Establishment, many of whom, for the last few years, have thrown their 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 as a non-negotiable plank of the national platform and want to see their elected officials uphold it, encourage it, and promote it in law. The social science is overwhelming: natural marriage is the best public policy because it is rooted in the well-being of all children, who need and deserve a mom and dad.
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. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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