Is a floor fight brewing for 2016 on gay marriage?
There's been a lot of talk over the last few months about the Republican party formally abandoning its opposition to gay marriage by leaving the issue out of the platform in 2016.
But two surveys commissioned by pro-family organizations show that the GOP base wouldn't support such a move.
The survey by the GOP polling firm Wilson Research Strategies was of Republican and Republican-leaning independents and was taken over a month ago, sampling 801 people from March 18 through March 20, with a 3.5 percent margin of error.
The survey showed 82 percent agreeing with a statement that marriage should be between “one man and one woman.” It also found 75 percent disagreed that “politicians should support the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples.”
A number of Republican influentials and elected officials have voiced support for same-sex marriage, and public polling has show independent voters increasingly supporting it.
At the recent Conservative Political Action Committee gathering in Maryland, the topic was mentioned far less frequently than it was in the past. But same-sex marriage supporters acknowledge it remains a difficult issue with a number of the party’s base voters, although they’ve argued for focusing on inclusion to broaden the GOP’s appeal after getting battered in the 2012 elections.
Bauer, the president of American Values, faulted a “misinformation campaign waged by media elites” and insisted that “public policy-makers are doing a great disservice to themselves and future generations by continuing to misread the convictions of the American people … this survey should remind political and cultural leaders that this debate is far from over. If anything, it is taking on a new sense of urgency for millions of men and women of faith.”
Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, added that the “vast majority of the GOP base continues to believe that marriage is a non-negotiable plank of the national platform and want to see their elected officials uphold natural marriage as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage and promote in law.”
It will largely depend on who the nominee is, of course, and their position on gay marriage will probably be reflected in the platform.
But with such a large number of Republican opposing any change, might an old fashioned floor fight break out that would roil the convention and detract from the GOP's message?
Floor fights are almost a thing of the past at conventions as rules have changed to make them very difficult to initiate.Most potential floor fights are headed off before the convention even gets underway by negotiating a compromise on the platform committee.
But compromise would appear to be impossible in this situation; the party either supports gay marriage or opposes it. The anti-gay marriage faction probably won't be satisfied unless their position is codified in the platform which means anything less could set off an old fashioned donnybrook to get the language against gay marriage included.
Whether the gay marriage plank is part of the platform or not won't make a bit of difference in the level of support Republicans receive from independents. Nobody is going to switch their vote from Democrat to Republican because of it. For that reason, it may be better for party unity to include the plank against gay marriage anyway.
Better to avoid a nationally televised fight than worry about a small number of voters who don't like the GOP's stance on gay marriage.