GOP Senator: We Need to Stop Opposing Gay Marriage to Win Elections

Illustration for article titled GOP Senator: We Need to Stop Opposing Gay Marriage to Win Elections

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has a groundbreaking idea for his party: maybe let's stop alienating our constituents by acting like giant bigots all the time. Hooray!


During an appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box, he encouraged the GOP to maybe stop focusing so much on their outdated opinions re: social issues — specifically, he urged his fellow Republican legislators to let voters decide whether they want marriage equality to be legal. You know, like how a democracy works.

Per Think Progress:

"I'm pretty traditional guy, almost 60 years old. I think marriage is between a man and a woman. But again if the voters decide that they want gay marriage I'm not going to oppose it," the senior senator from Wisconsin said during an appearance on CNBC's Squawk Box.

Pressed on what Republicans must do to win national elections, Johnson called on GOP leaders to clearly communicate their positions on economic and foreign policy, saying that "social issues are going to primarily be decided in the states through democratic process and that's the why it should happen." "I'll certainly go with the judgment of the American people in terms of where they want to fall on, whether it's abortion issues or gay marriage or wherever," Johnson added.

According to recent polling data, 59 percent of voters nationwide support marriage equality; furthermore, a December 2013 poll found that 51 percent of voters in non-marriage states support marriage for same-sex couples. So, yeah, obviously it doesn't really benefit the GOP platform to continue to have "traditional guys" bellowing about how gay families make the baby Jesus weep woeful tears into the matted feathers of a shivering bald eagle.

As of now, just three Republican senators have come out in support of marriage equality. However, it's worth noting that Johnson isn't the first Republican to recognize that "a roiling sea of out-of-touch old dudes" is not a good look for a political party: in April, for instance, the Nevada GOP dropped language opposing marriage equality and abortion from the state's Republican Party platform entirely. Here's hoping that others start following suit.

Image via Getty.


Gonzo the Something

While I'm happy about this in one respect, I'm also leery, because as bad as social conservatism is, economic conservatism is just as bad or worse.

I worry that this is less about a real change of heart and more about the realization that there are a lot of rich white gay guys whom the Repubs can attract if gay marriage is not an issue.