On May 12, The Guardian published a report on a memo written by Jan van Lohuizen a former public opinion researcher for George Bush. It was reportedly handed out to “GOP operatives” and warned that support for same-sex marriage will continue to grow at a consistent pace. In the memo reprinted by The Daily Beast, van Lohuizen explains the political price of opposing gay marriage. He says that support for gay marriage has grown at an accelerated rate, with no sign of slowing down. Although young and liberal-leaning voters are more likely to support gay marriage people of all ages and political ideologies are reconsidering their stance.
The memo also points out that people who vote Republican often still support legal protection from discrimination in school and work, hospital visitation rights, and domestic partnership. The point the author seems to be trying to convey is that an opposition to same-sex marriage will be tolerated, but some of the comments made by various socially conservative politicians about gay people, gay culture, and gay lifestyles will not. Promoting fear of the “radical homosexual agenda” will hurt candidates in the long-term as society progresses and becomes more accepting.
While this memo might seem like a cold and opportunistic approach to a civil rights issue, van Lohuizen is simply explaining that as people become more comfortable with homosexuality, so will the GOP. The current dependence on the social conservative and evangelical voting bloc is putting the GOP at odds with many people. The renewed focus on the economy, small government, and fiscally conservative principles have created a surge in enthusiasm, but the reactionary social views are a turn off to moderates and independents. The GOP cannot remain the party of small government and individual liberty while using government to dictate ultra conservative social policy.