Steve Schmidt, the former campaign manager for John McCain’s presidential campaign has been making news today for saying that it is time for conservatives to back same sex marriage. In a speech to the national convention of the Log Cabin Republicans he makes a conservative case for gay marriage:

“There is a sound conservative argument to be made for same-sex marriage…I believe conservatives, more than liberals, insist that rights come with responsibilities. No other exercise of one’s liberty comes with greater responsibilities than marriage. In a marriage, two people are completely responsible to and for each other…”

…If you are not willing to accept and faithfully discharge those responsibilities, you shouldn’t enter the state of matrimony, and it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference if you’re straight or gay. It is a responsibility like no other, which can and should make marriage an association between two human beings more fulfilling than any other.”

He makes a pretty sound argument based on the conservative belief in responsibility. Marriage is in the end about being responsible. You stop simply living for yourself and live for that other person. When they hurt, you hurt. When they are happy, so are you.

Schmidt understands that a younger generation, personified by Meghan McCain, is much more accepting of gays and doesn’t understand what all the big deal is. Younger voters will be turned off by what they see as intolerance.

While appreciating the argument put forth by Schmidt, political writer Marc Ambinder doesn’t think that the GOP survive without social conservatives. He writes:

I know that there are many Republicans who support gay rights, and that most members of the Republican elite are pro-gay, and that the business wing of the party could care less about the issue. I know that suburbanites are turned off by conservative intolerance of homosexuality and gay rights. I know that younger Republicans tend to be pro-gay and are alienated from the rest of the party. But I also know that the possibility that the Republican coalition will find some way to organize itself without social conservatives is a ways of a way off. Schmidt’s concerns may be valid, but urging the GOP top adopt a tolerance platform WITHOUT figuring out how to declamp itself from the social conservative hook — that’s not terribly realistic. That’s why so many Republican strategists, even as they’re sympathetic to gay rights (and virtually ALL of them are), don’t advise their clients to so much as acknowledge the dignity of gay people.

If one were to look at this with the steely eye of politics, this might make sense. And I don’t doubt that the GOP would lose votes in taking a step towards gay equality.

But as a gay man who is a Republican and who is partnered, this isn’t an issue that is that far away from me. It IS me. It is my issue. It has been said that when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, he said that the Deomcratic Party would lose the South for a generation. He was right. The segregationist wing of the party basically walked out and became Republicans.

Of course, we know what the upside was. African Americans were allowed greater freedoms and, well all you have to do is go to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to see some of the results.

The other thing is that while the Democrats did lose a substantial voting bloc, they also picked up other voting blocs to become the party they are today.

The Republican Party faces a hard choice. If the party does become more tolerant of gays, then they will lose a substantial voting bloc. But they could also gain new voters, especially young voters who would normally vote Republican but don’t because they are so intolerant of gays.

Ambinder refuses to dream. He refuses to see that things can change. Yes, for the GOP to make such a leap would be a big risk. Courage to do the right thing always comes with a cost. But there is a payoff down the road. One wonders what would have happened had LBJ not sign landmark civil rights legislation because he was worried about losing votes in the South.

Ambinder forgets that the status quo is killing the party NOW. Republicans are already losing votes. So, either way we lose votes, but I can say that what we gain by standing for gay equality is far more valuable than what we lose.

Dennis Sanders
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troosvelt_1858
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troosvelt_1858
7 years 5 months ago

A good speech by Schmidt.

I don’t know if I still qualify as a young voter but it is the social issues like this that make me uncomfortable to be a Republican.

superdestroyer
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superdestroyer
7 years 5 months ago
Considering the massive level of incompetence demonstrated by the McCain campaign, why would anyone want to listen to the fool who was in charge of it. He has zero credbility and is demonstrating that McCain is not really a conservative, was never interested in conservative issues, and just needs to go away. At least he could have tried to dress it up in libertarian language or inssit that the government should never, never ask anyone what their sexual preference is. However, Mr. Schmidt is wanting to look hip and cool to the DC set that he is not smart enough… Read more »
$199537
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$199537
7 years 5 months ago

This illustrates well the GOP dilemma – if they adopt more socially liberal ideas they will lose members. If they do not adopt more socially liberal ideas they will have trouble attracting members. This relates to abortion as well as gay marriage. Unless the Democrats fall flat on their face, which they are fully capable of doing, it will be a long time before the GOP is relevant.

superdestroyer
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superdestroyer
7 years 5 months ago

Dogoat,

The Repubicans will not be relevant again. It is much more likely that the U.S. wil become a one party state where the issues are decided in the Democratic Primary. If Chicago can be a one party state for 50 years, there is no reason why the U.S. cannot be the same.

Braindead
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Braindead
7 years 5 months ago
It is not the federal governments duty, position or constitutional right to tell anyone who they can marry and who they cannot marry. That is the right of the states ala the 10th amendment. The GOP would do well to return to fiscal sanity, smaller government while turning back to the states those powers that the federal government has usurped in the process. Then all that federal income tax money the left is hollaring about can stay at home…..or more precisely the federal government can reduce their percentages of federal income taxes while the states can increase thier state sales… Read more »
Silhouette
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Silhouette
7 years 5 months ago
Interesting you would bring up youth in the argument… My daughter who is young explained in detail to me one day how two of her friends who used to be interested in boys were aggressively stalked and seduced by a lesbian repeatedly. She was of the girls age and a peripheral to their group. Repeatedly if one of the girls would dare to try to date a boy, the lesbian became openly hostile to them, menacing and would belittle them daily for their choice. The girls to this day are now confused, bisexual and wrestling with what happened to their… Read more »
Chase_T
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Chase_T
7 years 5 months ago
Silhouette, You’re take on gay people recruiting people is beyond ludicrous. In 1978 Ronald Reagan said, “Homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles, Prevailing scientific opinion is that an individual’s sexuality is determined at a very early age and that a child’s teachers do not really influence this.” (Google it if you don’t believe me) His quote was very true. In fact the prevailing opinion today is that gay children are born gay. (It’s unknown if it’s genetic, occurs in pregnancy, or of other causes) Census data from the United States, and data from other countries as well,… Read more »
Silhouette
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Silhouette
7 years 5 months ago
The title of this article infers too, via psychological clubbing I’ve become so familiar with in PC-land, that if you’re not in support of homosexual marriage you are “chicken” [not courageous] by default. And I also sense a manipulation attempt in that it finds a weak spot in the GOP armor. They are worried about losing ranks in future elections. Using the “we’ve turned the youth against you” argument looks a little seedy considering the preceding.. So if you aren’t in support of gay marriage, in the gay view, you are either “homophobic” or “chicken” or [insert derogatory phrase here… Read more »
whitetrashlib
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whitetrashlib
7 years 5 months ago
You have no idea what you are talking about. Do you even know any gay people? Do you think because of some second-hand story from your daughter about a lesbian, you have special insight into this issue? The truth is the gay community is more diverse, and yes, conservative then you know. I am a gay man who does his best to be a good citizen, to be respectful of others opinions, is religious and agrees with many issues poised by social conservatives. I am by no means alone. Let me tell you this one more time: 1. Gays don’t… Read more »
$199537
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$199537
7 years 5 months ago

Personally I think the government should handle the civil union business and religious organizations should handle the marriage business.

GreenDreams
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7 years 5 months ago

Sil, what you mention has nothing whatsoever to do with “gay marriage”. Needless to say, hetero boys are similarly aggressive in attempting to seduce girls, virgins especially. And just as you describe “bragging rights” for homosexuals who seduce hetero girls or boys, heterosexuals get similar rights for seducing gay boys or lesbians. Your comment is a nonsequitur.

Silhouette
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Silhouette
7 years 5 months ago

My comments are relevant if the majority of the voting public does not wish our society to eventually become predominantly homosexual.

I think we should put it to a national vote and have done with it.

If you get nothing else out of my comments get this: that the social-contagion factor of homosexuality is real, as I’ve illustrated and as reported by my daughter and her friends. Get that to turn a blind eye to this is like diving into a pool of water filled with rocks, head first with your eyes closed.

GreenDreams
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7 years 5 months ago

That is not true, Sil. And I’m straight, and married. Prohibiting gay marriage doesn’t affect how teenage gays behave. What are you thinking? I do have a few gay friends, some partnered. They do not behave in ways you describe, and would never encourage youngsters to do so either.

Braindead
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Braindead
7 years 5 months ago
Yes its actually the left who hate Gays, not the right. The right prays for them. The left doesn’t like gays because they are not a big enough pac. There needs to be more gays in order for the left to stand up for the Gay people. So what Sil is saying is true. The left demands that we all be injected with the gay virus so that we can start multiplying gays at an accelerated rate and make the gay activism worth the while of the Left. They only give lip service to it. It seems as if there… Read more »
CStanley
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CStanley
7 years 5 months ago
I enjoyed your comment, whitetrashlib (afraid to ask about the screenname!) I think what you describe is true for the vast majority of gay people. I wonder though if you’d agree with me in my opinion that the vocal minority who lead the ‘in your face’ sort of protests and who do promote the promiscuous part of gay culture (which has it’s counterparts among heterosexuals, of course) are part of the problem? I don’t think that all gays are represented by those types, by any means (certainly not true among the gays that are personal friends and acquaintances of mine.)… Read more »
whitetrashlib
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whitetrashlib
7 years 5 months ago
I do indeed agree with you about the vocal minority. Pick a controversial subject, and the fringe will always get the best press. This is because cable news is ratings driven, rather than content driven. They are beholden to their stockholders and turning a profit, and journalistic integrity doesn’t help in that area. CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc…take a look at their websites, or even just turn them on for a bit. Normally one has to read The National Inquirer for that sort of reporting, but no more. The tabloids have taken over, and in the tabloids, gay people have traditionally… Read more »
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