Family Research Council

August 07, 2014 - Thursday

The GOP's Party Planning on Marriage

If you believe the latest polling, then you know that the midterm elections are the GOP's to lose. And based on the decisions of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), some of the GOP want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! While the Republican National Committee (RNC) has been on a conservative course correction under the current chairman, Reince Priebus, the NRCC and its Senate counterpart -- the NRSC -- have gravitated toward moderates over fidelity to the GOP's core principles.

Unfortunately, voters are getting a front row seat to that trend this year, as the NRCC stakes its money -- and its credibility -- on three anti-marriage candidates that reject the party's own platform. Insisting it has to "compromise" to conquer, the NRCC is backing the liberal trio in a misguided move that could cost the party a lot more than three seats. The NRCC has been quick to bite back at conservatives that oppose the move, claiming that its decisions to back candidates aren't based on sexual orientation. Nor should they be.

The problem here isn't that Dan Innis (N.H.), Carl DeMaio (Calif.), and Richard Tisei (Mass.) identify as gay -- the problem is that they are anti-marriage activists, openly fighting their own party on an issue that most Republicans still strongly believe in. DeMaio told reporters that it isn't about imposing a viewpoint but "protecting equality." "If you don't support gay marriage, don't get gay married," he said. "[But] if someone in government tries to get you to recognize or perform a gay wedding, I will be at the front of the pack to defend your right."

Of course, now we know that it's not just about getting "married," it's about radically changing the curriculum of our schools -- regardless of what parents want. It's about radically changing the culture -- through genderless bathroom ordinances and businesses being strong-armed. It's about the ability -- not just to hold a viewpoint -- but even a job (Brendan Eich, Craig James, Dr. Angela McCaskill).

"Our decisions," NRCC spokesman Andrea Bozek fired back, "will not be based on race, gender, or sexual orientation." But, as I told the Washington Times, this isn't really about their sexual orientation. It's about their policy orientation. Do they support the GOP's stated positions? The party platform is as clear about the issues of life and marriage as it is about tax policy. But somehow, in the last several years it's become fashionable among the Establishment to toss aside social conservatives (and with them, roughly a third of the Republican base) -- a strategy that's not only cost the GOP elections (see: White House 2008 and 2012) but put it on the path toward a permanent minority.

When these candidates champion the fact that they want to overturn America's marriage laws, then they're responsible for making sexual orientation the centerpiece of their campaign -- not us. Establishment Republicans like to fall back on Ronald Reagan's famous quote that if you're with us 80% of the time, you're my friend. Well, that's true -- unless the other 20% of the time you're trying to undermine the core positions of your so-called allies.

How many businessmen out there would invite the competition to their office and collaborate on advertising strategies? Probably not a single one. Executives at Coke would never give Pepsi 20 seconds of their minute-long commercial or a third of their billboard space. No one who is paying to promote a message would be foolish enough to promote a contradictory one at the same time. No one, I suppose, but the NRCC.

The suggestion that conservatives should have to debate their own party on marriage -- not the opposition -- is a shockingly bad strategy. If Republicans think all they need to do is field candidates to cash in on the Democrats' follies in November, they're going to be disappointed.

The only way to recapture America's vision -- and its votes -- is by standing behind candidates who actually stand for the Party's stated core principles. If the NRCC believes natural marriage is negotiable, what issues aren't? At what point does the Second Amendment become negotiable -- or smaller government and lower taxes?

19 Rulings and Counting?

"Isn't the bigger point... that it disparages the voters -- the votes of citizens of Michigan?" That was the question directed at Michigan Solicitor General Aaron Lindstrom Wednesday during oral arguments over a lawsuit challenging the Wolverines' marriage amendment. The 6th Circuit arguments, the first of three appellate level marriage cases on the country's docket, went better than expected for the majority of Americans who still believe in natural marriage. For the first time, federal judge Deborah Cook hinted that the 19 straight same-sex "marriage" court victories may be coming to an end.

FRC's Peter Sprigg followed the debate and believes conservatives had every reason to be optimistic. Attorney Carole Stanyar, who represented the plaintiffs challenging the amendment, spoke of the plight of same-sex couples denied civil marriage. Cook, however, appeared to agree with Lindstrom that the real issue is, in a democratic society, "Who gets to decide?"

Only one of the three judges, Martha Daughtrey, a Clinton appointee, showed her open scorn for the four states' marriage amendments on trial. George W. Bush appointee Judge Jeffrey Sutton objected to redefining marriage -- not as a policy matter -- but a constitutional one. He did say that "modern conceptions of marriage are more about love, affection, and commitment" than about procreation -- the public purpose behind the marriage laws cited by Lindstrom.

With a nod to Stanyar's desire for same-sex couples to obtain "respect" and "dignity," Sutton said, "I would have thought the best way to get respect and dignity is through the democratic process." Time will tell if the other judges agree -- but for once, the Left may have finally run into a court that still believes in America's great tradition of government "by the people, for the people."


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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