Worth noting what Politico reports today:
Santorum, in an interview Thursday on Mike Huckabee’s radio show, said gay marriage is a “mobilizing factor” for voters that can’t be ignored.
“I’m hopeful that [Romney] understands the power of these issues,” Santorum said, adding that Obama’s position “should put the social issues front and center.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said Obama handed Romney and the Republican Party a gift – and both will be negligent if they don’t take advantage of it.
“The president yesterday interjected an element into this election cycle that, while some may be uncomfortable dealing with on the Republican side, could very well be a deciding factor for the election if they respond to the president’s challenge to marriage,” Perkins said. “It’s no secret the Republican leadership has not wanted to be out front waving the banner.”
Romney doesn’t need to make it the centerpiece of his campaign, Perkins said, but it should be part of his stump speech.
“The missing piece for Mitt Romney was the intensity of the core conservative voter,” Perkins said. “The president handed him that piece yesterday if he wants to take it and put it in place.”
Mitt Romney was asked on Wednesday during his brief stop in Weld County about President Barack Obama’s new position in support of gay marriage–Romney said he doesn’t agree, and went a step further to say he doesn’t even support civil unions as proposed in the Colorado legislature. Meanwhile, GOP House Speaker Frank McNulty’s response to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s call for a special session repeatedly substituted the words “gay marriage” in place of civil unions, knowing full well that the bill doesn’t tamper with the state’s constitutional definition of marriage. Of course, there are a substantial number of voters who will support “civil unions” but not “gay marriage,” helping explain McNulty’s seemingly crass deception.
Bottom line: public opinion on the matter of equality for gays and lesbians is rapidly changing, and that change is a big part of much greater Republican support for civil unions in Colorado than has ever existed before. We believe, like GOP attorney Mario Nicholais of Coloradans for Freedom believes, that this is one of several issues on which the GOP must modernize its platform or risk permanently marginalizing itself as attitudes generationally change.
But as you can see, there are powerful forces in Republican politics who don’t agree, and who will fight this moderation–regardless of the consequences. We now know McNulty is one. We’re a little less sure about Romney’s core convictions on the matter, but he’s certainly not helping himself with sweeping statements of opposition like he made here a few days ago.
In both cases, they’re making it hard for Republicans who would rather not be marginalized.