A Question About Same Sex Marriage


Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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158 Responses

  1. Avatar Michelle says:

    Probably not. I might be more inclined to vote for certain moderate Republican candidates but, since I don’t find the Republican economic message compelling, I doubt there’d be too many more Republicans for whom I’d vote.Report

  2. Avatar Sam says:

    I’d be warmer to the possibility.Report

    • Avatar M.A. in reply to Sam says:

      If the GOP announced today that they have been wrong about gay marriage, asked for forgiveness and called for an immediate legalization in all 50 states… would you be any more inclined to vote for them in the next election?

      I’d like to see some action from them.

      They control how many governorships? How many state legislatures, many in states that passed state-constitutional amendments to ban marriage equality to start with?

      Words are cheap. If their rhetoric were a public support of SSM while privately pandering to the anti-SSM donor base, it would mean little. I’d need results not words, something I’ve already gotten from Obama thanks to the DADT repeal and his standing down the Attorney General’s office from defending the obviously-unconstitutional DOMA.Report

  3. Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

    Yes. The culture wars nonsense is seriously off-putting to a liberal who is sympathetic to the notion of fiscal conservatism. If they could tone that down it would be a major improvement. After that, they’d just have to follow through on fiscal conservatism. And not just the “let’s burn this shit down” type of fiscal conservatism that plays well with the base. Structural reforms that are efficient and sustainable and lead to functioning governance.

    I don’t want big government for the sake of big government. I want a government that works and elected officials who at least make an effort to make it work. Right now, the only home for me is the Democratic party.Report

  4. I probably would be “more inclined,” but with the caveat “all things being equal.” For me, the GOP’s stance on other issues would be more controlling, in particular the ACA and abortion (and I know Mike and I will disagree on the latter).

    If we flip things around a bit–say, the parties remain the same, but the Dem’s disavow support for ssm while the GOP takes it on as its own policy–I’m not sure if I’d change my vote.

    I guess all this is to say that rightly or wrongly, support for ssm by itself does not represent my true rejection of the GOP.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    would you be any more inclined

    I admit that I am one of those “never again” types when it comes to voting for the two “real” parties but “Social Issues Like Gay Marriage” is one of the reasons I didn’t feel that bad about Obama winning the election (now, I wish I had *MORE* reasons to not feel that bad about Obama winning the election but that’s another post).

    As such, “Social Issues Like Gay Marriage” is one of the reasons I didn’t feel that bad about Romney losing. With that said, I’d say that prominent Republican politicians musing publicly about rape theory has more klaxons going off in my head than their stance on gay marriage does. So, at this point, I’d say that your statement would make me feel better about Republicans not losing in the future, the Republicans have a lot of hot button social issues work to do before I can imagine thinking “I don’t feel that bad about them not losing, when it comes to social issues, anyway.”Report

  6. Yes, for three reasons:

    1) On the merits of the issue itself. As I’ve made perfectly clear hereabouts, it’s an issue of tremendous personal importance to me. Given its direct relevance to my family’s well-being, opposition to SSM is an absolute deal-breaker for any candidate or party.

    2) As an indication of a split with the evangelical base. The use of religious dogma as the basis of public policy is deeply problematic, and any daylight between it and political power would be a welcome change.

    3) As an indication that the party is willing to reconsider its position on a major issue. Saying “we were wrong” would be a wonderful sign that the party might be willing to look at some of its other hardline positions and decide to modulate them.

    Would such a statement be sufficient in itself to make me vote for the GOP? Almost certainly not. I am in general far more liberal than the Republican Party as currently iterated. But it would be a first step, and a big one at thatReport

  7. Avatar Murali says:

    I don’t vote in america so the question is academic. But let’s pretend that I am an American citizen:

    If you’d asked me this question 3 months ago before rape-gate I would have said yes. epsecially for house and senate seats. (I still wouldn’t go near a republican president with a 10 ft pole until the republicans drop their hawkish plank on their platform). I lean anti-abortion (at least at the margins) and even then Akin scared the hell out of me. Seriously, raped women don’t get pregnant??

    As it is, I vote for the PAP, which all things considered, is the conservative party in Singapore.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Murali says:

      As someone who is not from Singapore, I find it really weird that a party whose name starts with “People’s” is not communist.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        The People’s Action Party started off as an alliance between Communists and a more right of center group. Let’s call the latter Pragmatic Tories. A lot of the chinese in Singapore at the time had communist sympathies. So, Lee Kuan Yew, when he formed the party, made an alliance with a bunch of commies. To the locals he presented a face sympathetic to Communism. To the british he showed a more anti-communist face. Once in power, he betrayed the communists and had them all rounded up and arrested, thus in one fell swoop, getting rid of both Barisan Socialis (the main opposition party) and the left wing of the PAP.Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to Murali says:

      To be clear, while there is a party whose platform better matches my policy preferences, while they officially ran in my district, not only did they not bother to campaign. They did not even bother to put on their website who the MP for my area will be. I know they had no chance of winning, but its like they didn’t even care.Report

  8. Assuming I was American, yes, I would be. It’s not the be all and end all, but it would be a definite point in their favour (or, at least, no longer a point against them).Report

  9. Avatar Tedlick Badkey says:

    Unlikely… Now, if they abandoned their reliance on whacked-out, extreme right wingnuts like NOM, Tony Perkins, AFA, etc… and dumped such things as “Value Voter” summits, yes.

    I’m sick and bloody tired of the religious zealots, and as long as republicans are joined to them at the hip, I’ll continue to vote libertarian or independent, ONLY to do whatever damage I can to them.

    While gay marriage is very important to me personally, the whackjob religious folks who are screaming about it are dangerous to much more than just marriage.

    They need to go.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tedlick Badkey says:

      Unlikely… Now, if they abandoned their reliance on whacked-out, extreme right wingnuts like NOM, Tony Perkins, AFA, etc

      Could they do what Mike suggests without abandoning their reliance on those groups?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley says:

        Possibly. particularly if they manage to convince the crazies that they’re just faking it.Report

        • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Kim says:

          Let’s assume they’re sincere. I don’t think Mike is talking about a scam, but an actual positional platform change.

          There’d still be the issues of abortion, teaching evolution in schools, and the like on which the GOP wouldn’t have changed. Would the party still sticking to its traditional position on those issues while abandoning opposition to SSM allow them to still hold onto NOM and AFA, or would abandoning opposition to SSM necessarily mean a break with those groups?Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley says:

            I honestly don’t think the 50% or so of Republicans who have an authoritarian mindset could accept the sudden cognitive dissonance. Things are black and white for these people in a way that is really, really alien to me (it takes a LOT before I can really say “no, this is wrong, no ifs, ands or buts…” I got some pretty wild answers when I started contemplating abortion that way…).

            I believe they’d rather start a third party than go meekly behind an “immoral” one.

            And, once started, most of the rest would drift over…Report

  10. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    That alone, no. But if it were the first step in “We’re rethinking a lot of stuff that’s not part of our core message”, I’d certainly be listening. (Which I see is more or less what Doc said.)Report

  11. Avatar Vast Variety says:

    There are a host of other issues with the GOP but yes, I’d certainly be more inclined to vote for them. I may be gay but I’m also a fiscal conservative.Report

  12. Avatar hazemyth says:

    In part, yes. Or, perhaps, ‘yes’ insofar as such a change would probably have to occur in the context of a general re-appraisal of party’s current, narrowly construed conservative values.

    I have voted for socially liberal Republicans (such as Bloomberg, when he was on that ticket) and would be more willing to consider Republican candidates that did not proffer a highly conservative vision of society that held no place for me.

    Being gay, acceptance of gay persons/relationships/families value to society would be a big step. Of course, as an athiest, I am also alienated by the depredations of ‘Godless America’ that we so often hear. Better sensitivity to women, people of color and immigrants would also help a lot.Report

  13. Avatar Shelley says:

    I hope that female, Hispanic, and gay voters will remember which party stood by them (shakily, but still….) and not be fooled if the losing party finds a cleverer way to “message” or throws them a bone.Report

  14. Avatar zic says:

    I have voted for Republicans who are fiscally conservative but socially liberal. And I will do so in the future. But it’s got to be more then appearances. The appearance of being liberal — Romney’s stances on abortion, ever shifting, severely frightening — don’t work for me. So I doubt I’d vote for change-of-heart candidates, but new candidates who have socially liberal views from the get go? Yes, if they were better candidates then their opponents.Report

  15. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Clarifying question: Would it be the GOP at all levels doing this, or would it just be the national-level folks? For example, at the time the apology is issued and a national call for action made, would GOP members of the Mississippi state legislature be introducing a bill that made marriage between any two people legal, with enough co-sponsors to ensure passage? And would 30 Republican governors stand up, promising that they would sign such bills without qualms? Talk is cheap; acting in the states where the Republicans have the ability to take pass such laws unilaterally would be much more impressive.Report

  16. Avatar DRS says:

    Pretending for a moment that I’m an American:

    I would say “not yet”. You can’t just pluck SSM or any other cultural issue out of thin air and separate it from the Republican’s solid base of Christian support. Although I’d love to watch the merry hell that would break loose when the god-botherers read their morning papers and saw the announcement!

    But seriously: I’d have to see some walking the talk, some making nice to the lesbian/gay community leaders and some deep apologies. A sudden change is just too weird.

    Now if you were to ask if four years of loud soul-searching resulted in a Republican presidential candidate who in 2016 announced that SSM was a done deal and he/she personally had no objections, then that would be a way-different story and much more credible to voters.Report

  17. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    The funny thing is I thought I had the conservative position on same sex marriage: I think society rallying around getting people to marry and spend their lives together is better for the social fabric than telling them the institution is meaningless for some folks and meaningful for others. It meant a lot to me and my wife to get married and, if it means a lot to the gay couples we know to get married, that’s stronger support for our marriage. I don’t see where there’s anything radical about that. So, for me, if the GOP agreed with me on that, I think we’d be more in line about what conservatism means. Admittedly, I live in a country where the Conservative Party focuses much more on fiscal issues than who can marry who, for the most part. So, it’s a bit hard to relate to Republican voters on this one.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to Rufus F. says:

      I can relate.
      I see a lot to be desired with either of the predominant views.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Rufus F. says:

      There is another conservative position, too, and that’s the protection and defense of hetero marriage. When being gay is closeted, many many people who are gay feel the need to be normal; to marry someone of the opposite gender.

      Those straight spouses deserve better; deserve a spouse who has the capacity to have a full marriage — as do the homosexual people seeking false marriages to shield them in their closets.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

        Do you still feel that way, if the feeling is mutual? In Japan quite a few people have “loveless” marriages (asexual is how a scientist might term it).Report

  18. Avatar Chris says:

    I’d vote for any party that was socially progressive, fought hard for labor, fought hard for universal health care, fought hard for reproductive freedom, fought hard for civil rights, and fought hard to insure that everyone was playing on an even playing field. I wish we had such a party.Report

  19. Avatar Morat20 says:

    Hmm. It’d earn them a second look, which says a lot.

    Right now, I’ve written the whole bloody lot of them off. It’s not just SSM, it’s a whole nest of interrelated issues (SSM is a pretty good example of one key concept they’re really, really, wrong on in a way I can’t support — but it’s not the onle one).

    But yeah, if they 180’d on SSM I’d take a good, long honest look and see what else has changed. I don’t know if it’d make me more likely to vote for them or not, but as it is right now I can’t imagine voting for a Republican. Then again, Texas Republicans aren’t the most moderate breed.

    (Which, by the way, causes me no end of frustration. A one-party system doesn’t work. I’d like choices, please. I’d really, really, really LOVE an America wherein I had two sane, interesting, competeing choices for America that used competition to winnow through the marketplace of ideas. I don’t have that, and it sucks)Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Morat20 says:

      so start working for it! consider the republicans DOA. They can’t change their primary system fast enough tomatter, not for the next Presidential. So start a third party, already.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Morat20 says:

      A one-party system doesn’t work. I’d like choices, please.

      If I may, a one party system does more than provide choices. My mom doesn’t care how many choices are available, she’s voting Republican. My friend PJ doesn’t care how many choices are available, he’s voting Democratic. But they need the two party system, too, because without the discipline provided by competition, a single party can act in just about any way it wants to–which normally isn’t to the like of even that party’s regular supporters.

      Granted, the mechanism of discipline is choice (so I’m actually agreeing with Morat, and expanding, not critiquing), but only a few need to care about and actually exercise that choice for even those who don’t want choices to benefit as well.Report

  20. Avatar George A. Chien says:

    As a gay man, happily married to my husband in the state of CT, I would certainly welcome this change on the part of Republicans. But I would never, under any circumstances, consider voting for anyone who would identify him or herself with the GOP. I have been voting since I turned 18, in New York, Connecticut, Tennessee, and Illinois, and never once voted “R.” For me to change that pattern would require both that the Republican party abandon it’s positions on unions, on the size and role of government, on women’s rights, gay rights, immigration, people of color, the environment, religion, foreign policy, taxation, state’s rights, the economy, health care, judicial philosophy (and probably other things I’m not thinking of right now), AND that the Democrats simultaneously adopt all the current GOP positions. In my opinion, the Republican Party is a disaster for everything that I most cherish in my life and about my country. So, no.Report

  21. Avatar John Howard Griffin says:

    If the GOP announced today that they have been wrong about gay marriage, asked for forgiveness and called for an immediate legalization in all 50 states… would you be any more inclined to vote for them in the next election?

    No. A call is not action.Report

  22. Avatar Kolohe says:

    More inclined, but it’s not a make or break issue for me either way.Report

  23. Avatar mark boggs says:

    Absolutely. However, for them to change their stance on this one issue means a whole host of other issues must change along with it for them to maintain some sort of ideological consistency (i.e. any issue that is driven by a religious concern), and that’s where I have trouble seeing anything happen.Report

    • Avatar Plinko in reply to mark boggs says:

      I’m with mark on this, such a change entails a dramatic change in the Republican coalition, how this shakes out would be of tremendous importance to my view of the party. And not just on social issues, it’s entirely probable that such a shift might also lean them more my direction on taxing and spending issues as well.

      If it were a magical change where nothing else is affected, I’d still have a hard time with them nationally and statewide. Locally, I don’t really get a chance to vote for anyone but Republicans as they’re the only ones on the ballot at all.Report

  24. Avatar Mark L says:

    No. Their credibility sucks. And it’s not about that one issue. The unquestioning support of the oligarchy, their hostility on women’s issues, their inability to make math work and their loyalty to Christian dominionists would keep me from voting for them.Report

  25. Avatar Shazbot5 says:

    I,m a little confused as to what the point of this question could be. Most people who are socially liberal on more issues than just gay marriage or against the R’s economic plan (an neocon Iraq-attacking) will say “It would make me somewhat more likely to vote R, but is highly unlikely to switch my vote.”

    I think the question is also too simple. It confuses the possibility (a mere logical possibility these days) of a R who is pretty much a liberal on social policy and mostly moderate on GOP-onomics with the possibility of a hardcore Republican who is antithetical to all things liberal, economic and social, except gay marriage (Dick Cheney).

    Indeed, my odds of voting for Dick Cheney are exactly 0, despite the fact that he is not bigotted against gay people. But i could imagine voting for a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, etc., moderate R, if the circumstances were just right, and if his or her opponent wasn’t a better candidate, or maybe in some sort of strategic voting scenario.

    But such a person and such circumstances haven’t existed in a long time in the party that is the perniciois fusion of the religious right and Ayn Rand that we see today.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Shazbot5 says:

      I think the point of the question is assess whether the Republicans have anything, practically, to gain by changing their stance on same-sex marriage. Based on the responses, it appears that they wouldn’t – they wouldn’t gain liberal voters, since those voters disagree with them on many more issues than just same-sex marriage, and they’d lose the support of a large portion of their base (possibly resulting in the creation of a socially conservative third-party).

      Therefore, claims that “the Republicans need to modernize and become socially liberal if they want to stay electorally relevant” appear unsupported, and doing so would likely be the death blow to the Republican Party rather than bringing it new support.

      For legislative elections, though, I think the Republicans would be well-advised to run candidates who are neutral or positive on same-sex marriage in liberal (and libertarian) states/districts, just as the Democrats run pro-life candidates and “blue dogs” in red states.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to KatherineMW says:

        Excellent observations Katherine and yes, what I have learned is that gay marriage is only part of the equation for many people and the GOP would have to reform on other issues to get their support (basically become Democrats, so what’s the point?)

        There were several commentors who said they might be more inclined. I wonder which way they lean naturally? I can’t imagine too many liberals that switch to the GOP over this one issue.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Mike, I can’t imagine many conservatives switching to the GOP because of this one issue.Report

        • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          I think there are more social conservatives in the United States than there are libertarians. Tossing out the social conservatives in order to become, in effect the libertarian party (not the Democrats) would thus be a poor move electorally.

          Whether they would get more mileage out of becoming more economically populist instead is an interesting question.

          Either way,I think they should ditch the overseas interventionism, as polls suggest there’s a sizeable constituency that would prefer less foreign entanglements. Expanding Americans’ political choices by giving them one interventionist party rather than two, instead of contracting their choices by giving them no social conservative party, strike me as a good move forward and something that could resonate with a reasonable portion of their current base – and be meaningful enough to a fair number of libertarians that they’d be willing to overlook the social conservatism.Report

        • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Mike, might I suggest that your poll has a rather unfortunate sampling bias.

          We are all high information voters with rather baked in preferences.

          A sample of low information or swing voters would be more interesting respondents.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          basically become Democrats, so what’s the point?

          Please understand, from my perspective, that this is asking “so what’s the point of doing the right thing?”

          If nothing else, you can say that you’ve done the right thing. Sometimes that’s the only reward you get for doing the right thing. Strangely, I’ve found that that’s enough in an awful lot of cases.Report

        • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


          I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but you asked for our feedback. We gave it to you. It was a variety of responses, some favorable (those who would be more willing to consider voting Republican), some as favorable (those who would expect action to following endorsement), some neutral (those who long ago swore off the party forever).

          I don’t believe anybody, at any point in this thread, said “If only they were all Democrats, I’d vote for them.” In fact, I don’t think anybody in this thread genuinely believes that. What good is accomplished by starting this thread and then dismissing almost the entirety of the feedback when the answers you receive are predictably more complex than Republicans simply abandoning a single policy position?

          Or, to put that another way, would you be more willing to vote Democrats if Democrats were willing to demonize gays for all of society’s ills, or do you (also) care about a variety of issues that can’t be ignored, even if your opposition made substantive progress on only one of those issues?

          Your answer makes it seem as though this thread exists only as a bad faith effort to engage in a conversation with those of us who disagree with you.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

            Sam – you will note that I said ‘many’ not ‘everyone’. And of those people that said it wouldn’t change their vote, several said that gay marriage was only one piece of the puzzle. My point is that if the GOP moved on all of those things (or even most of those things) they would cease to be a different party than the Democrats. In that sense I think my summary is accurate.

            Think of it like this: If you asked, ‘What would Burger King have to do to get you to eat there more often?” and my response was, “Make a burger just like a Big Mac, make their fries just like McDonald’s and start serving Happy meals,” at what point does Burger King cease to be Burger King?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              Maybe Burger King could compete on Fiscal Conservativism?Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              But Burger King is defined by the Whopper.

              Is the GOP defined by opposition to gay marriage? If so… whew…Report

            • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


              And my point, again, is that nobody gave the McDonald’s answer you just offered us as an example. I might say to you, “Mike, I’d be more willing to consider voting Republican, but only if the drop the hostility to gays, the hostility to women, and the hostility to minorities.” Are you saying that I’m demanding that Republicans be JUST LIKE Democrats? Because I’d argue that the Republican Party is far more substantive (even if I profoundly disagree on the substance) than those three particular issues.

              So what I guess I’m saying is that if you asked, “What does Burger King have to do to get me to eat there more often?” and I said, “Well, I’d like them to offer the little cups of ketchup like McDonalds does, and I’d like for them to be as clean as some McDonalds seem to be, and for there to be better pickles on the burgers…” then that’s not the same as me saying, “OH MY GOD BE JUST LIKE MCDONALDS!!!”Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

                I think they did Sam. Read this:


                Not to put George on the spot but what he lays out is essentially the DNC platform.

                But to the broader point, the question is really about where the line is. It’s about how far do you push it before the GOp is not offering any real alternative to the Democratic party? I think for many SSM supporters to get on board it would have to go so far as to be unrecognizable.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                “I think for many SSM supporters to get on board it would have to go so far as to be unrecognizable.”

                But that’s not because they’re SSM supporters… but because they’re liberals.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                Great. That’s ONE comment. I accounted for that type of comment in my explanation of what I saw throughout the thread. But that’s one out of how many people who tried to genuinely answer your question? I’m just saying that what you’re doing here – asking if the change would matter, then declaring that making the change would essentially make the Republicans indistinguishable from the Democrats – is asking in bad faith. There’s no sense in having the conversation if these are the rules.Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:


                I disagree for a couple of reasons:

                1) I didn’t ask the question in bad faith and the replies were diverse so I am really just talking about one subset of answers. I held my comments until a lot of people had shared their opionions, but you seem to be implying I am not allowed to disagree with the logic behind those replies.

                2) I learned a long time ago that if you don’t want to have your logic questioned, give one-word replies. The easiest reply to give to the question I asked was a simple yes or no. I’m glad people expanded on their answers, but as I pointed out, several people insisted other things would have to change in addition to the stance on SSM. I didn’t point that out as a way of trying to slam anyone. I just think it’s a fair assesment to say some of those demands would push the GOP too far to the Left.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                1. You didn’t reference the diversity of the replies that you received. You seemed to imply that the standard position you’d run into was one wherein people told you that Republicans have to become Democrats in order to earn support.

                2. Yes, several people insisted that other things would have change before they’d vote Republican. I really don’t understand what’s so unreasonable about that, given that some people have a wide array of issues that they care about. It is unrealistic to saying, “Fine, we’ll stop treating gay people like second class citizens…” before following that up with, “Well what do you mean you’re not voting for me now!?”

                3. What is the single issue that Democrats could change on before you’d vote for the Democrats in the next election?Report

              • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer says:


                I said (emphasis mine):

                “…what I have learned is that gay marriage is only part of the equation for many people

                If you want to argue about the definition of many vs. all I guess we could do that but it seems silly.

                I think that some of the commentors proved that gay marriage was the one sticking point for them. So in their case, a single issue change might be enough. This comment thread did a good job of separating those people from the ones that need more.

                As for me, I vote for Democrats pretty often. Often I vote for them because I don’t like the GOP candidate more, but sometimes it’s a positive. I like our congressman because I believe he genuinely cares about taking care of our city first before getting involved in natiional stuff. Also, if Democrats softened their stance on abortion I would be much happier.Report

              • Avatar Sam in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                Recognition that marriage is only part of the equation is important. But that’s still not the same as saying, “People just want Republicans to be Democrats.”Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          Mike, that’s not the question you asked.

          You asked if people would be *more* inclined to voter for them in an election, not if they would switch parties. The question you originally asked seems an important one to the discussion you’re about to have. The question you just referenced there seems like you’re asking the test to fail.Report

          • Just so.

            Would I be more inclined to vote for the GOP on this issue? Yes! Since I am not at all inclined to vote for them at present, there’s a lot of room for me to tilt before I’m into the “actually voting for them” zone. But this would certainly help, for the reasons I stated above.

            Do I want the GOP to become Democrats in all but name before I would consider voting for them? Not at all. I desperately want sane, sound conservatism represented in our national politics, and I lament that the GOP as it currently expresses itself has abandoned all semblance of sanity. Were it to moderate its tone substantially on a handful of issues (SSM being a biggie, but also immigration and the extremes of the abortion debate) but retain its core values of limited government and skepticism about state-based solutions to societal problems, I would be much more inclined to give them my vote, even if I tend to be more of a bleeding-heart liberal.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          You were asking whether the Republicans’ stance on gay marriage was anyone’s true rejection — the thing that, if it were to change, would cause the downstream conclusion to change as well.

          On this blog, you are unlikely to find people for whom this is true. That’s because we’re a multi-issue blog full of people who care about a lot of different things and read very widely. We’re also fairly ideological; we put a good deal of effort, all of us, into crafting what we consider to be coherent worldviews across all these issues.

          Finding no one or almost no one who would change their mind, here, is not necessarily sampling the population that you really ought to be sampling.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

            Good point, though I suspect that if the only thing that changed was gay marriage, you won’t see many people switching. Some, yes, but not many, because support for gay marriage will tend to be correlated with other things, and not just social issues.Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Chris says:

              It’s entirely possible that there are gay people out there who would be Republican voters, except for this one issue.

              My guess is that they would likely stay home rather than voting for Obama or anyone else. Changing the party’s stance here might activate some of these nonvoters, I suppose.

              But still, I have to admit, while the issue is huge for my own family, it’s not the sort that makes or breaks a political party. It just isn’t.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

                Right. I think the gay voting block is good for the Democratic party in large part because it tends to be mobile and, to some extent, organized, whereas a lot of the other subgroups within that party’s base aren’t either. But it’s a pretty small voting bloc, so even if it switched entirely, it wouldn’t make or break either party.

                Now, if the Republican party suddenly decided to take a hands off approach to social issues in general, that might see some fairly big shifts in the electoral landscape.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Chris says:

                Possibly, but what kind of shifts?

                The basic question it comes down to is whether there are more social conservatives in the US than there are libertarians, since libertarians are the people the GOP would be attracting by ceasing to be socially conservative.

                I fairly certain that this blog has a higher rate of libertarians than the general population, and definitely a lower rate of social conservatives. I’m pretty sure the Republicans would lose from such a transition, at least in the short term (next 10 years or so) and it would stimulate the rise of a new, socially conservative third party. If the GOP dropped the issues of evolution, gay marriage, abortion, etc., they’d alienate a large portion of their base. They might well lose the entire southeast. In return for what? The northeast is economically liberal, the midwest is unionized; at best they’d flip Colorado and have a better short at Oregon. That’s not worth it.Report

  26. Avatar Max says:

    SSM is to me one of the most important issues since it’s so incredibly simple, and the Republicans are so incredibly wrong about it (I’m straight, btw). Changing their stance on SSM would obviously make me like them “more”, but their current view is representative of all their other policies as well, and as long as those don’t change too then there would still be no chance of my vote changing.

    An earlier comment pointed out that it would be a more intriguing question of BOTH parties flipped on SSM, and since I do think it is such a big issue, that would present a bigger challenge for me. I think in that case I’d just stop voting for either party and stick with the greens.Report

  27. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Probably not.

    I would welcome the end to at least one stupid aspect of the Culture Wars though.

    I am still economically on the left and believe in the welfare state, unions, single payer-healthcare, and end to our draconian prison system, and many other issues. The entire economic message of the Republican Party seems rooted in a protestantism that is alien to me.Report

  28. Avatar Jason M. says:

    I’ll join with many of the commenters here with another “intriguing, but no, not enough”. It’s intriguing because I’m genuinely unsure if the issue of gay marriage can exist in a vacuum for Conservatives or not. There is such a thing as a “Log Cabin Republican”, after all. But I also believe that Jonathan Haidt has, if not quite ‘nailed it’, then is a least on the right path for demonstrating that our political ideologies are post-hoc constructions based on deeper psychological preferences. I would think a switch to supporting gay marriage would require dialing down “Sanctity/degradation” and “Loyalty/betrayal” a couple notches; which would affect other issues like women’s reproduction (I don’t for a minute believe it’s only about abortion) and hostility to immigrants of latin heritage (I don’t for a minute believe it’s just about ‘protecting our borders’).

    I could be wrong though – I know several Conservatives, but have never met an (openly) gay Conservative.Report

    • I don’t know if this counts, but one of the top Cabinet Ministers in Canada’s Conservative government is gay. I don’t know if he’s “openly” gay. I don’t think he’s officially mentioned it, but it’s a well-known fact and he consistently attends Ottawa’s Pride Week.

      He’s also generally considered the party’s pit bull and is a definite leadership candidate it the future. He’s definitely not a Red Tory.Report

      • Avatar M.A. in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        “I don’t know if he’s “openly” gay.”

        One of the bright things about Canada is there really isn’t a major difference between “gay” and “openly gay.” They’ve had marriage equality so long that nobody much blinks an eye about it from what I understand. They’ve certainly had marriage equality (functional since 1999, in name since 2005) long enough that just about everyone’s clued in that one’s sexuality has nothing to do with one’s job performance.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Jason M. says:

      And if the Conservatives hadn’t modified their position on same-sex marriage (to “vague resignation” rather than “enthusiastic support”, to my mind, but still a far cry from the GOP) it’s very likely they wouldn’t have a majority now.

      But Canada isn’t America.Report

  29. Avatar Kim says:

    I would much rather see the GOP end its war on science.
    (sorry, gay peeps, but it’s true!)Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Kim says:

      I’d say that their war on gays is actually a facet of their war on science.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Alan Scott says:

        [Channels his inner Tod.]

        Could you expand on that a bit?Report

        • Avatar mark boggs in reply to Chris says:

          I’d venture that he means that, just like they might reject the science behind the genetics of homosexuality, so might they also reject the science behinds all sorts of other things, e.g. evolution, climate change, etc.Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to mark boggs says:

            I thought that might be it, which reminded me of the time when I was really up on the research on the “causes” of homosexuality, and who, when you started discussing it, took issue with the research. It always came from two directions. One was conservative Christians, who were wedded (no pun intended) to the idea that homosexuality is a choice, which meant a developmental, much less a genetic basis, impossible for them to believe. The other direction the criticisms came from were gay rights activists, who worried that finding the biological causes of homosexuality would result in efforts to eliminate it from the population, either through gene selection and selective abortion, or through medical treatments that would deal with the underlying physiological causes.Report

          • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to mark boggs says:

            That’s at least part of what I was talking about. Demonstrably false beliefs about the origins of homosexuality. But it does extend beyond that to beliefs about behavior as well. See for example, false & misleading studies about gay parenting, the idea that gay people have an average life span in their thirties, etc.

            The point is, a segment of the republican party has an alternate truth (whether it’s global warming denialism, the idea that homosexuality is a disease, or mistaken belief that romney will win in a landslide), and thus construct an alternate science, with alternate experts, than confirm their mistaken beliefs.Report

  30. Avatar Roger says:

    I would be slightly more inclined to vote GOP is they became more socially liberal on tis dimension. The more dimensions the better IMO.

    That said, they can’t. Homosexuality is a sin to much of the Christian base. What they could do is approve civil unions which have all the legal benefits of marriage, but which separates the moral dimension.

    Let me be clear… Gay sex is really, really repugnant and impure to many republicans. Just ask them.

    The GOP has a dilemma. The left has a few of its own emerging as well. Over time, to the extent the parties can solve their internal dilemmas, they will thrive or not.Report

  31. Avatar DBrown says:

    Oh please! The party that tries to divide the country and set groups apart and against each other? Not a chance. Lets not forget that they use any issue to retain control of the money/power that comes with office. The gop is still the party of hate.Report

  32. Avatar mac says:

    Yes. It would be a strong signal that they are showing light between them and the radical Evangelical right. Add together some basic admission that the Creationists are full of shit, and I would be happy to reconsider voting Republican at the national level.Report

  33. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    There’s no question at all that such a move would influence me, in their direction. The hard-line stance against SSM was one of the positions that began my alienation from the GOP many years ago.

    I cannot promise that a reversal of position would decisively make me a Republican voter again, as there are other issues about which the Republicans would need to re-gain my trust. But it would be a big help — and a signal that along with this issue, the party’s stance was softening on a constellation of other social/sexual issues as well, which if it proved true would further gravitate me back towards the GOP.Report

    • Avatar Roger in reply to Burt Likko says:


      What if they decided that abortion in the first two trimesters, evolution, gay marriage and stem cell research were off limits to the GOP? That they were personal issues which the party recommends acceptable candidates refrain from even taking an issue on. Assuming this was possible, would you be more inclined toward the GOP?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Roger says:

        A thousand times yes. You’ve stepped on my toes a bit for tonight’s Leaguecast, but that’s cool.

        Silence on social issues of nearly all sorts would be golden. At that point, they’d need only to assure me that they had a sane plan to achieve a balanced budget and I’d more likely than not revert to Republican as my default voting position, with the burden of persuasion shifted to the Democrats.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Roger says:

        Yeah, if they were truly going to do enough to chase out the crazy religious whackos, I’d give them another look. (I’d also want to see if Koch and company were still in charge, of course…)Report

  34. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I’d want to know a little bit more about what brought about the change, but I can say it would certainly make me MORE likely to support a Republican candidate. That is not the same as “likely” mind you. But certainly more likely.

    For me, while I’m not a single issue voter, I consider SSM a big enough deal that opposition to it all but eliminated a candidate from consideration for me. Remove that and they all become more palatable.Report

  35. Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:

    More inclined yes.

    But they would still be DOA on many other issues.Report

  36. Avatar Randy Harris says:

    I would be very slighly more inclined to vote for Republicans.Report

  37. Avatar North says:

    The GOP’s relationship with gays is a hard stop deal breaker for me. If they reversed their stances on that subject I’d have to actually give them some consideration for my support/vote.Report

  38. Avatar Shazbot5 says:

    Yeah, the answer to your question is obvious, Mike, and has been repeated multiple times here by a variety of differently-minded people.

    The GOP would suck less, but would still suck a lot, if they reversed their anti-gay bigotry. If they reversed their extremism on abortion, their anti-Latino racist rhetoric, their draconian immigration preferences, their anti-science positions on the climate and teaching creationism, their Islamophobic rhetoric, their war-mongering in the Middle East, and moderated their opposition to slightly raising taxes on the rich (who are richer than ever and paying lower taxes than ever) that might help even more.

    But that would make them Democrats of some stripe or another, maybe slightly right-leaning.

    Really we need three or more parties (or just less part-discipline) to allow more ideological and policy-preference variance in our candidates. More true liberals, true libertarians, true theocrats (that’s what they are), and even true centrists.Report

  39. Avatar Shazbot5 says:

    Also, change to a parliamentary system.Report

  40. Avatar Noah says:

    I would be. On a national level, I think it would have to be one plank in a number of changes to their social policy platform for them to actually get my vote. For State Assembly or State Senate, though, a Republican candidate with this view would probably get my vote.Report

  41. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    No, but it would be a first step of the GOP turning into a standard-issue center-right party I’d simply disagree with instead of remaining a death cult that should be put to flame by rational men (TM Cogitmaus).Report

  42. Avatar crash says:

    Marginally more inclined to vote for GOP if this happened.

    In practice, I would not vote for a GOP candidate in most cases until similar progress was made on (1) divorcing religion from politics in other areas (abortion, evolution, etc.); (2) environmental issues, and (3) foreign policy belligerence.Report

  43. Avatar Mary G says:

    About 5% more inclined, but going from nothing to 5% is effectively worthless as a practical matter.Report

  44. Avatar joey jo jo says:

    it would change minds about as much as when the gop announced that it was reaching out to latinos because they should align on social issues. the gop announces multiple positions as it sees fit. that’s why romney was the perfect candidate for the modern gop.Report

  45. Avatar DRS says:

    Here’s an interesting post from a guy the GOP should have had in their pocket, and he makes a great case that they pushed him away. Many of the issues he sites should not have been left/right-liberal/conservative issues:


    He’s been linked on a few sites so occasionally he’s inaccessible but it’s a good read.Report

  46. Avatar Alan Scott says:

    Today? Sure. But of course it really depends on their positions on things like immigration and the drug war.

    But in five years? No points. That’s trying to score after the clock’s run out. If you were pro-segregationist in 1959, it sucks, but everyone can make mistakes via ignorance. If you were pro-segregationist in 1969, then you’re just being ignorant on purpose.

    Mike, above you say that in order to earn our votes, Republicans will have to turn into democrats, so what’s the point? The point is this. Republicans may be the party I disagree with and will never be able to earn my vote. But if they don’t shape up soon, then they’ll just be the party of racism and homophobia for the next generation. It’s maybe too late to earn my vote, but holding the course means that they won’t be earning my kids’ votes or my grandkids’ votes either.Report

  47. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Re: the question: Of Course!!! All other things being equal, if a GOP candidate endorsed SSM, that person’d be fliying higher in my preferences.Report

  48. Avatar Shazbot5 says:

    I think if Republicans were closer to Democrats, they would earn more Democrats votes. If they were closer on just one non-economic issue (except maybe abortion), it’s probably not many votes.

    So the Republicans have at least three reasons to support gay marriage:

    1. Basic moral decency

    2. Will gain a few votes and donations from Right-leaning Dems, and take the steam out of some Democratic opposition activists.

    3. Will prevent themselves from being remembered as horrible anti-gay bigots, as Alan points out. (If they do it soon.) which could have long term problems for the R brand.

    They have one reason not to support it and continue to be homophobic:

    1. Will keep the support and votes of homophobic bigots, which is a lot of votes and support in the U.S.

    So, I guess we shouldn’t expect them to change and excuse their pandering to homophobia as completely understandable and “rational.” Justified.


    Sorry Mike, I don’t mean to be rude, but I hope you aren’t trying to justify R’s being anti-gay marriage with this line of questioning.Report

  49. Not really. I’ve suspended any serious consideration of voting GOP until climate change denial is the exception, rather than the rule.

    This is at least in part because I’m pretty confident that shifting public opinion is well on its way to settling same-sex marriage culturally. Official sanction won’t be far behind.Report

  50. Avatar Simon K says:

    If I could vote, yes it would. But my instinct with a question like this is to try to broaden the context. How would such a change have come about? If we accept (with some regrets) that the GOP is now the Conservative Party and the Democrats are now the Liberal Party, making American politics essentially like the politics of most commonwealth nations, we also have to accept that conservative parties appeal to those who value some traditional set of rules and further are happy enough to see some harm come to those who don’t play by those rules. If that’s true, there are only three ways such a development could come about, and I feel quite differently about them:

    1. Gays are no longer seen as outside the traditional norm, and gay marriage is therefore just a small variation on traditional marriage. This is in fact what is happening in the UK, and I suspect will happen in the US. Its a good thing, and it increases my chances of voting for a Republican some day, but it wouldn’t tip the balance in their favor unless the Republican was fairly exceptional – prepare to accept, for instance, that immigration reform requires more subtlety than simply expelling people and building fences. Because illegal immigrants are people, just like gays.

    2. The Republican Party no longer wants to be the Conservative Party, This is an idea I would embrace, since I see the appearance of a more normal party system in the US as a bad (but largely inevitable) thing. It seems fairly far-fetched to imagine this happening, though, in the absence of some compelling regional difference in interests that might be quite bad in itself.

    3. The distinctively Conservative moral foundations (hierarchy, purity and group affiliation) are declining in their relevance. While there’s some evidence that this is true – just as IQ is rising and aggression is falling – over faster timescales than evolution normally occurs, its unlikely to happen in an electorally relevant timeframe.Report

  51. Avatar scott the mediocre says:

    (too late for your leaguecast, but still …)

    More inclined? Yes, definitely, in the sense that whatever the minimum possible change needed for the GOP to *sincerely* repent here would be enough to take them off of my “just short of never” list for state (CA) offices (every now and then a non-crazy person sneaks through the vetting process for a lesser statewide office like Insurance Commisioner, Secty of State, etc. and I vote for them).

    (by minimum possible change I mean just enough bending on the whole Leviticus ‘n’ shit, Semitic pastoral religion ritual purity aspect to wind up somewhere near Ted Olson)

    GOP for a national level office, including Congressbeing? – no effin way. Far too much of the crazy still to expunge than just Tony Perkins, Charlotte Allen, etc.

    It wouldn’t be just the one issue, which is important to me, but, as others have noted, actually acknowledging that “we were wrong” makes a big metacognitive change both in the individuals and the tribe.

    I’m somewhat surprised that nobody has made the comparison to the (South African) National Party. If I were a South African (any race, but to match my equivalent privilege as a straight white male of middle to upper middle SES, I assume I’d have to be a white there, but more likely English than Afrikaner), I would never have voted National Party before 1990; after that I would have considered it.Report

  52. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Caveat – I’m not an American, so the likelihood of my voting for any US candidate is zero.

    Doing that would eliminate one of a number of insurmountable barriers to my (hypothetically) voting Republican – so, I guess that on its own would leave my likelihood of voting GOP at practically nil, something like that would be a necessary part of the full package of major gestures required for me to vote GOP – alongside support for abortion rights, a sane drug policy, and knocking it off with the warmongering.Report