The politics of gay marriage: “Only idiots fight demography”

by on July 9, 2011  •  In Marriage

Rapidly shifting opinion on gay marriage is occurring among not only the general public but also among those who are presumed to be the sharpest, most pragmatic political insiders.

From its most recent poll of political insiders (for a list of names of those polled, see after the jump), the National Journal reports that the bulk of Democratic politicos are urging politicians to embrace the call for marriage equality, while Republican operatives increasingly counsel candidates to avoid it.

In part, these results may be a bump from the realization that Governor Cuomo's masterful steering of the issue through the Republican-controlled New York State Senate has landed him in a political punditry winner's circle. Whatver triggered it, I think the shift in views from 2009 (see below) will hold. And the change strengthens my prediction that the split between economic and social conservatives within the Republican Party will be the big political news of the 2012 election. 

Democratic political operatives overwhelmingly say the time has come for gay marriage, while a majority of Republicans now believe they should just avoid this issue, according to this week's National Journal Political Insiders Poll. Both positions represent significant gains for gay marriage compared to two years ago, when the same question was asked in the wake of the Iowa Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the state…

Which statement comes closest to your political views on gay marriage?

July 2011
(102 votes)

April 2009
(102 votes)
My party should support it 84% 59%
My party should oppose it 1% 2%
My party should avoid the issue 14% 32%
Other (volunteered) 1%* 7%
*Also receiving votes: My party should move gradually towards support, 1%.

At the same time, less than a third of the Republican Insiders think their party should oppose gay marriage, a position that's been enshrined in the party's national platform.

Which statement comes closest to your political views on gay marriage?

July 2011
(105 votes)

April 2009 
(104 votes)
My party should support it 14% 8%
My party should oppose it 30% 50%
My party should avoid the issue 56% 37%
Other (volunteered) 0% 6%

Many Democrats believe that gay marriage is not only "the right thing to do," but that it is also no longer a wedge issue that cripples the party. "The country is moving quickly toward acceptance of gay marriage," observed one Democratic Insider. "There is no need to hang back and expect civil unions to provide cover."

Democrats also felt that support for gay marriage would solidify the party's grip on younger voters. "It's this generation's civil rights movement," exclaimed one Democratic Insider. "It's a huge demographic opportunity for Democrats because almost every voter under 30 supports it," said another."

Still, a handful of Democrats were more cautious. "Let's not push the envelope," said one Democratic Insider. "We need to focus on swing voters in swing states."

Some of the same arguments that prompt Democratic support also had an impact among Republican Insiders. "Huge issue with young voters we need," asserted one GOP Insider who said the party should support gay marriage. "Only idiots fight demography."

Another GOP insider who said the party should avoid the issue explained, "We haven't come to a consensus on this issue but the country is changing so rapidly that it will a non issue in a few years. A confrontation now would just delay the inevitable." But some of the old arguments still hold sway among Republicans. "As it has been defined for thousands of years, marriage is between a man and a woman," declared one GOP Insider. "End of story."

But another Republican who said the GOP should oppose the issue added, "State the position and move on. Do not make it the focal point."

Republican Insiders: Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Tom Cole, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innoconzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, George S. LeMieux, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Connie Partoyan, Dana Perino, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek and Matthew Zablud.

Democratic Insiders: Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Deb Callahan, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bill Lynch, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Mike Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O'Donnell, Scott Parven, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Katrina Swett Sarah, Swisher, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.



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