The Democrats, led by President Barack Obama, made a strategic decision in the last election cycle that same-sex marriage was going to be a wedge issue. I’m no fan of our President but I give him all the credit in the world on his sense of political timing. If he’s advocated same-sex marriage in 2008 he may well have lost the election but the zeitgeist changed in his first term and by the time the 2012 election rolled around, his metamorphosis into a bold crusader for marriage equality was shrewd. It also the Democrats to paint the GOP as hopelessly out of step with the times.
The tide had indeed shifted on same-sex marriage. Part of that electoral alchemy was evidenced by the sudden of the same-sex marriage proposals at the state level. For years, voters had rejected gay marriage when allowed to vote on it themselves and Proposition 8 is proof of that; remember, same-sex marriage lost in 2008–in California. If the vote were held today, it would likely be different.
The trend lines are clear and this new reality equals a slow bleeding process for Republicans. They can sit back and play defense on the issue for the next few years but there’s no evidence that it’s going to do a bit of good. The most likely outcome will be more lost elections. The Democrats have sunk their teeth into their new wedge issue but ironically, the Supreme Court could take it away from them by upholding gay marriage by judicial fiat.
If SCOTUS tosses the will of the voters in Proposition 8, it’s likely game over for referendums and the bleeding stops. The Republicans can cry foul on judicial overreach and then move to other issues like fiscal restraint, a strong national defense,or even coming up with better messaging on pro-life issues.[pullquote align=”left”]If SCOTUS tosses the will of the voters, the bleeding stops…[/pullquote]I’m a Consenting Adults Conservative; same-sex marriage isn’t my issue. Seen through the lens of a belief in a smaller, less-intrusive government I think a conservative case for same-sex marriage that protects the rights of churches can be made. I respect the ethical and political concerns that animate the defenders of traditional marriage but even if I opposed same-sex unions, however, I don’t think it would be the political hill I’d pick to die on. I don’t believe that conservatives need to abandon principles on a regular basis to curry favor with voters. On this issue, however, I question whether the principle some believe is at stake is worth it given the electoral realities.
Make no mistake about the leftist machine’s intent on this issue; they want to use it to win elections and advance their agenda. I think it’s impossible to argue that the strategy isn’t working for them and won’t keep working in the foreseeable future.
I have real concerns about the Supremes, especially after the awful Obamacare ruling. On this particular issue, however, the ruling that many Republicans don’t want might just be the best news they could get for 2014 and beyond.