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Republicans Supporting Gay Marriage

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The Changing Demographic of Republicans and Gay Marriage
Photo credit: sushiesque / Flickr

Contrary to popular belief, not all Republicans oppose gay marriage. While opposition to gay marriage has traditionally been a Republican hallmark, this is slowly starting to change. The fact that there is a Facebook group called Republicans for Marriage Equality speaks to this changing in the official party line.

While most Republican leaders still officially oppose gay marriage, the numbers of Republicans supporting gay marriage are slowly and stealthily increasing, showing that the party has the ability to change and adjust with the times.

This is crucial in upcoming elections, as polls show the majority of Americans are now in favor of making gay marriage legal.

The Changing Demographic of Republicans and Gay Marriage

Not surprisingly, the largest number of Republicans who support gay marriage are the younger ones. These are the people who have grown up in a world that has been preaching tolerance for as long as they can remember, and they believe in equality and inclusion for all, regardless of religious beliefs.

A new Pew Research Center Survey shows that 61 percent of Republicans under the age of 30 support gay marriage. This is a pretty large majority. This is also what the future of the Republican Party looks like.

It seems as though these younger Republicans will play a large role in the inevitable nationwide legalization of same sex marriage, as they partner with Democrats of all ages who already support it.

The same survey shows only 27 percent of Republicans over the age of 50 support gay marriage, and the Republican Party overall has a 39 percent approval rate for it. This clearly indicates that the issue of gay marriage is firmly in the hands of young Republicans.

The House and Senate Divide

Interestingly, there are no Republican members of the House of Representatives who support gay marriage. However, there are three Republican members of the Senate who support it. These are:

  • Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
  • Mark Kirk (R-Illinois)
  • Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

The addition of Murkowski to this list is particularly surprising, since Alaska is a solidly red state. Illinois is blue, and Ohio goes back and forth. However, if even a strongly conservative Republican from a red state like Murkowski can get on board with gay marriage, that says that other Republicans can do it, too.

Murkowski’s Reasoning Behind Her Support of Gay Marriage

Murkowski supports gay marriage because she believes it is in keeping with the pro-family and pro-small government values of the Republican Party. She doesn’t believe the government has a place in people’s bedrooms or in regulating how they organize their families.

She also believes the government should recognize same sex partners, especially those with children, because it keeps established and healthy families together.

She cites the case of a lesbian couple she knows where both women have served in the military and have adopted four children together.

Yet, because of the laws in Alaska against gay marriage, they don’t get spousal benefits that could help them support their children, and if one partner became sick or disabled, the other might not be able to visit them in the hospital and the children might be taken away from that partner and given to the healthy one. Murkowski believes this is wrong and is going against traditional Republican family values.

The Future of the Republican Party and Gay Marriage

With so many young Republicans supporting gay marriage, traditionally conservative senators from red states equating supporting the issue with supporting family values, and senators from western states showing signs of giving their support to the issue in upcoming elections, it seems inevitable that the Republican party will become pro-gay marriage sooner than later.

The signs are all there, and with the support the issue already gets from Democrats and the American people at large, it is hard to imagine Republicans won’t follow suit. There will always be a few holdouts, of course, but the future of the Republican Party is clearly one of a party that supports gay marriage.

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