Conservative Voters on Gay Marriage: Embrace It and Move Forward? Or Stick to Principles?

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FILE - This Sept. 6, 2011 file photo shows a man walking past a group of people protesting against gay marriage outside a courtroom where the California Supreme Court was hearing arguments in San Francisco. The Obama administration is quietly considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage, a step that could be a major political victory for advocates of same-sex unions.  (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

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Gay marriage will get its day in court—the Supreme Court no less—when lawyers argue two landmark cases before the justices next week.

In one, United States v. Windsor, the court could determine whether the federal Defense of Marriage Act violates the constitutional rights of same-sex couples to marry. The other, Hollingsworth v. Perry, tackles Proposition 8, which denies same-sex marriage in California and which voters narrowly approved in 2008.

Before that, however, Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman ushered gay marriage back into the center ring last week when he announced his support of gay marriage. Last month, former GOP presidential candidate and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman expressed similar thoughts.

How do their constituents and supporters feel? Ahead of next week's court arguments, Yahoo News asked conservatives and Republican voters to tell us whether their party should abandon the opposition to gay marriage or stick to its principles and platform. Here's a sampling we received overnight.


Allowing same-sex couples to marry is not granting a privilege, but is imposing a responsibility to form a stable family. Family and responsibility are central conservative tenets, which is why the Republican Party should, if not outright embrace same-sex marriage, at least acknowledge that support of it does not make one less a conservative or not a Republican.

Mark Whittington, Houston


The Democrat Party's liberal love affair with gay marriage may soon be consummated with Republicans. Unofficial Republican proposals for federal recognition of homosexual marriage are increasing. Whether an insincere attempt to appear unbigoted to gain gay-friendly voters or a sincere change of heart, as with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman's support of his gay son's right to marry, motive doesn't matter. A Republican Party platform switch to embrace gay marriage will dilute the GOP's religious right, which is the backbone of Republican grassroots.

Here in conservative Abilene, Texas, Tea Party types held their noses when voting for moderate establishment candidates like Mitt Romney and John McCain, but many stayed home and didn't knock on doors to get out the vote due to a lack of enthusiasm. If Republican leaders sacrifice our identity by trekking toward the new middle road of gay marriage, they will convert the majority of GOP grassroots into couch potatoes and lose even more elections.

Lance Hunter Voorhees, Abilene, Texas


There's no sense in the GOP platform's calling for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage since such an amendment failed to pass back when the climate was more favorable to it and would have zero chance of passing now. Instead, the GOP platform should support the rights of individual states to (1) define marriage as they see fit and (2) refuse to recognize the marriages contracted in other states that don't fit their own standards.

Michael Partyka, via Facebook


It's not up to any political party or judge to define marriage. If you want to use that particular word, it comes from the bible. And the bible states it is the union of one man and one woman. If you want any other form of "joint-ship" then name it what you will. Just leave "marriage" defined as it has been for over 2000 years. It's not brain surgery.

Karmen Jacobson Siirtola, via Facebook


Here in Centreville, Va., there is a strong belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. Many Republicans believe this and advocate government possibly prohibiting whom you spend the rest of your life with. Yet, many of these same Republicans curse Obamacare for prying into the private lives of Americans, indeed mandating that certain religious institutions offer contraceptives in their benefits packages. Hypocrisy, no?

But this must change if the GOP is going to survive as a party. And it doesn't have to be considered as "abandoning principles."

Christopher Salas, Centreville, Va.


I was brought up in a conservative home that had strong feelings about the basic principles of traditional marriage and family. The 2012 Republican platform states that "preserving and protecting traditional marriage" is one of the party's core principles. I share that view. Unlike President Obama, the Republican Party should not flip-flop on this issue just to gain a block of voters.

Respect should be given to same-sex couples and gay-marriage supporters. However, there is something to be admired in backing a party that sticks to its core beliefs.

Bill Harbin Jr., Woodstock, Ga.


Gay marriage is immoral. It goes against what God said. That said, the government has no right to say who can and get married. Let "gays" get married but not allow them the same tax benefits of a normal married couple.

Taylor Gammill, via Facebook


The GOP shouldn't stand for Gay Opposed Party. We have much bigger fish to fry. Is North Korea more likely to attack California if Proposition 8 is struck down? I don't think so. Is al Qaeda going to retreat into the hills and caverns of Afghanistan because America will be formidable when we only allow marriage between one man and one woman? I don't think terrorists really care what your marital status is or which team you play for.

In this conservative, straight, middle-aged woman's eyes, the Republican Party needs to concentrate its efforts on many more issues facing the country. I don't believe it is the responsibility of the GOP or any political party to define marriage or family or religion, and I don't think it is wise to turn away potential voters by trying to do so.

Penny Allen, Danbury, Conn.


If the Republicans endorse gay marriage, I will leave the party. I will unregister and become independent. I will also influence all of my family and friends to do the same. I'm not divided; remember united we prevail, divided we fail. If the Republican Party can't keep its values, then it is the same as the Democrat Party and it's over. I joined the Republican Party all those years ago because it stood against abortion, gay marriage and was for small government. I come from a long line of Democrats on both sides of my family; it was hard to take a stand and join the Republicans, and know I feel like my party has let me and my nation down.

Michelle Spurlock, via Facebook


The Republican Party has a strong stance on social issues like marriage, which I find regressive and increasingly difficult to tolerate. Most young adults are supportive of gay marriage—81 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds in a Washington Post-ABC News poll—making it an all but unavoidable eventuality. The party is isolating young people with its relentless opposition to gay marriage and cementing its unpopularity among future generations. I've had several of my close friends come out of the closet in recent years, and I feel nothing but strong support for their right to marry.

I applaud Republican economic principles but worry that conservatism is being sacrificed wholesale in an unwinnable and unpopular fight against the rights of a minority of our population.

JJ Boyles, Seattle

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