Party finally acknowledges millions of voters
By Zoe Sakas
Features & Lists Editor
When defining the difference between the Democratic and Republican parties, many Americans first think of the many social issues that these parties disagree on. The president of the United States is normally chosen on a basis of his or her opinion surrounding matters such as abortion, the death penalty and same-sex marriage because those are the issues that everyone has an opinion about. Many people also assume that the Christian faith defines one’s opinions on the policies that should be in place dealing with these issues. Through these many assumptions, Republicans have been classified for decades as conservative, close-minded Christians who have no intention of straying from the teachings set forth by the Church. To many Christians and conservatives, this attribute is seen as beneficial because the future of the United States will be in line with the moral standards of their faith. But to liberals, this is a very unappealing aspect of the republican party because the concept of “change” seems to be ignored. As the more socially liberal party, Democrats fight against Republicans’ lack of willingness to budge on these issues. Because of the population’s concern with social issues, political parties are seen as two extremes — right or wrong — depending on who is defining them.
However, there is not always such a distinct line between political parties. Over the past forty years, Log Cabin Republicans has been a growing organization that promotes the freedom of the individual, including the equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. Their mission is to create a “stronger, more inclusive Republican party,” as stated on their website. They claim to be “loyal Republicans” seeking for a “change” within the party. Log Cabin Republicans support the freedom to marry as they understand that America needs strong, loving families regardless of whether the parents are gay or straight. This is a concept that Democratic party members would agree with, and could possibly be the difference between someone voting for a democratic president or a republican president. There are many Americans who would vote Republican if it wouldn’t mean denying the rights of gay people who may also be within their friends and families. The development of this organization brings to light the possibility that the Republican party may one day be open to all those who believe that equality, especially in marriage, should be prioritized in the United States government.
According to Time, dozens of Republican party leaders have signed onto an amicus brief challenging California’s argument against the Constitutionality of gay marriage, including six former aids to Romney and seven current or former Congress members. Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who used to be strongly against gay marriage, now supports it as his son recently revealed that he was gay. Rob Portman is still considered a conservative Republican and his position in the party has not changed as a result of his newfound support for the LGBT community. Portman’s new respect has come from a realization that sexual orientation is not a choice, but an innate quality, definitely not something to be ashamed of. Rob Portman is the highest-ranking elected Republican in America to endorse same-sex marriage, and is setting a new example for Republicans to follow. On the whole, the Republican party has “softened,” as Time put it, their view on gay marriage, and become more open to the possibility of changing their position on the matter. As journalist Margaret Hoover stated in her CNN Opinion article, “More and more Republicans are recognizing and respecting the essential dignity of individuals who are gay and deserve the full rights of citizenship, just like their straight brothers and sisters.”
Although the concept has been around since the 70s, the idea of “Republicans for gays” has popularized recently. Within the last week, a dozen articles have been written and released online by respected publications and networks such as Time, MSNBC, CNN and the Washington Post, especially regarding Rob Portman’s new support of gay marriage. According to a Washington Post/ABC news poll, the percentage of Americans that oppose gay marriage has dropped from 55% in 2003 to only 36% percent ten years later. Even with this number shrinking, many Republicans still kept agree with their party’s official stance that gay marriage is a legal “assault on the foundations of our society.” Nonetheless, even though Republicans as a whole do not support gay marriage, the party has become more cautious of their position against it. House Speaker John Boehner exemplified the Republican view by stating that the “[freedom to marry] is a very divisive issue. People on both sides of this question have serious positions and I respect everyone’s opinion. I just gave my opinion. My opinion is born out of my childhood, my faith, my beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman. I respect other people’s views.”
By “respecting other people’s views,” Boehner represents the large majority of Republicans who still believe that gay marriage should not be implemented into the law, but should also not be disregarded as universally wrong. With this new general understanding and the several specific cases of Republicans advocating gay rights, there is a new sense of liberty, equality and justice in the revolutionizing Republican party.