GOP Candidates’ Anti-Gay Stances: Winning Strategy, Or Out of Touch?
According to a Washington Post poll, 6 out of 10 voters under 30, including Republicans, now favor full marriage equality. Even more telling, several prominent Republicans now support gays and lesbians being able to marry. They include former first lady Laura Bush, daughter Barbara, Lynne and Dick Cheney, and 2008 presidential nominee John McCain’s wife Cindy and daughter Meghan.
A self-described "progressive Republican," Meghan McCain is fighting what often seems like a one-woman campaign to pull her party kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Speaking at the 2009 Log Cabin Republicans convention, McCain said there was "a war brewing in the Republican Party" between the past and the future, and that "most of the old school Republicans are scared shitless of that future."
She wrote in 2009 in her column in The Daily Beast, "At the most basic level, sexual orientation should not be a factor in how you are treated. If the Republican Party has any hope of gaining substantial support from a wider, younger base, we need to get past our anti-gay rhetoric."
Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia and one of the most prominent presidential-election analysts in the country, mentioned evolving attitudes in an interview with EDGE. "There has been a sea change in Americans’ views on gay rights," he said. "Large majorities now favor almost every category of anti-discrimination rights."
"Those between 18 and 33 are very attuned to social issues like gay rights, and by a wide margin, they take the libertarian view," Sabato noted.
GOP Sea Change on Social Issues
Darrell West, a vice president at the Brookings Institution, a prominent think tank, agreed.