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Memo to GOP Candidates: Why Conservatives Should Embrace Gay Marriage Decision

| July 10, 2015

same sex gay marriage conservatives presidents

What’s there not to love? (Frank Farm)

By Nancy Smith

As a conservative who has always supported gay marriage, it’s difficult for me to understand why so many people of my generation — the ones who grew up witnessing some of the worst discrimination of the 20th century — could consistently rage against it.


Thankfully, the Supreme Court has declared that marriage is a basic civil right, older than the Constitution itself. No more bans. What could be a more conservative opinion than that?

When I heard the justices’ decision, were I not gymnastically challenged, I would have cartwheeled up Adams Street from College Avenue to the Florida Capitol.

My brother was gay. He loved children, loved at least one man in his life I was aware of. Yet, he was denied both because, well, “that’s the way things are.” I knew how he suffered 50 years ago, and frankly for most of his life — in ways gay men and women today, thank heaven, will never have to know. Why would I or any true conservative — who surely believes in more individual freedom and less government — ever want that state of affairs to continue?

And I think, what possible harm can it do to me and my husband, a pair of heterosexuals, if gay couples want the commitment and legal protections of marriage, same as the law allows us?

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If a gay couple adopts children and the children have two mommies or two daddies instead of one of each — and, by the way, I support gay adoption, too — is that really going to harm them if they’re loved by both parents? Are they in any more danger than the children of heterosexual couples or single parents who are alcoholics, drug users, physically abusive or neglectful? I never believed having a mommy and a daddy — traditional parents — is the key to happiness. I believe the key is being loved and cared for.

All across the country polls have shown Americans are shifting their opinions of same-sex marriage, becoming more tolerant. Just a few weeks ago, a poll in Tennessee, a Bible Belt state, showed opposition has softened. In 2014, 64 percent of those surveyed opposed gay marriage; in 2015, the rate dropped to 55 percent — a 9 percent difference in one year.

While I deeply respect religious viewpoints on the issue, I don’t believe they belong in a civil question over who can marry whom, nor do I think the United States Constitution ever intended to promote marriage discrimination. I think this is the kind of thing we Republicans need to think about as we try to win back the White House in 2016.

Certainly the party can still support traditional views on marriage, but adopt a live-and-let-live attitude toward people whose marriage choices aren’t the same as theirs — some of whom are members of the GOP.

The numbers are fairly compelling. The millennial generation is 80 million, largest in history. And for millennials who lean right, gay marriage is an area in which they disagree with their party.

Perhaps you saw the most recent survey of incoming freshmen at UCLA: some 44 percent of students who considered themselves “far right” believed same-sex couples should have the right to legally marry. And so did 56 percent of students who label themselves “conservative.”

Or the 2014 Pew poll. It found 61 percent of Republicans younger than 30 support gay marriage.

Or the Data Science poll, showing 64 percent of self-identifying evangelical millennials support same-sex marriage.

My point is, supporters of gay marriage are part of the red team, like it or not. Look at the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay conservative group. And the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry. Do we really want to excommunicate them from the party because of their advocacy?

These are our people. Why would we chase them out from under the Big Red Tent? If we are truly a big tent, it seems to me we should celebrate our diversity instead of trying to purify it.

nancy smith sunshine state news columnistNancy Smith is the editor of Sunshine State News. She started her career at the Daily Mirror and The Observer in London before spending 28 years at The Stuart News/Port St. Lucie News as managing editor and associate editor. She was president of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors in the mid-1990s. Reach her by email here, or follow her on twitter at @NancyLBSmith.

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16 Responses for “Memo to GOP Candidates: Why Conservatives Should Embrace Gay Marriage Decision”

  1. TeddyBallGame says:

    I adopted “tolerance” on the homosexual issue because live and let live is my philosophy. But I will NOT be forced to accept homosexuality as a normal social construct. And I sure as hell will not be coerced to celebrate it. Tolerance is all you’ll get from me.

    Sensitivity to symbols (e.g. flags) and their meaning is not limited to to any group. Didn’t we just recently learn that??

  2. With Conservatives like you Nancy we don’t need democraps. You are a RINO.

    I was never against gays, still not. I am against Gay Marriage. It’s a civil union, that’s great, give them all the rights of marriage but it’s not marriage.

    Do you know why the government got involved in marriage? To prevent blacks from marring whites. So why not get government out of the bedroom completely? Get government out of marriage completely. Let people of whatever faith or no faith join together any way they want without getting a license?

    This would protect the bakers, photographers, property owners and people in general from participating in something that is personally abhorrent to their personal beliefs weather they be religious or secular.

  3. Groot says:

    I’m a life long Democrat and I do not support gay marriage. I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court ruling and Obama’s support of same sex marriage. It’s here and it’s been declared legal by the Supreme Court but I’m entitled to my opinion and I’m also entitled to how I vote in the future. For now, while still a Democrat, I’m taking an independent stance for 2016. I am totally 100% opposed to gay adoptions. It’s hard enough being a kid without the extra burden of gay parents. I’m also opposed to people tossing around numbers that favor their position with poll results but without links.

  4. m&m says:

    The rainbow flag has replaced the true historical southern flag. This political BS will stop if Trump is elected.

  5. BossIlluminati says:

    nothing conservatives hate more then gays, marijuana, women’s rights, immigrants, minorities and freedom….but they love telling us how to live and they love love love WAR

    the bible was written to SCARE and CONTROL men, the constitution written to ENLIGHTEN and FREE them

  6. Sherry E says:

    To all the uneducated. . . the “civil/legal” state of being married carries with it many important and fundamental “rights”, as defined by our laws and our constitution. Those “rights” simply were unjustly denied to same sex couples for decades because they are not available to those who are not legally married. Got it? Are you following me here? This legal transaction/contract/union, can be performed anywhere and has NOTHING to do with any religion, NOTHING! It also has nothing to do with the lives and rights of any heterosexual marriages/contracts/unions.

    Holy matrimony, or any name your church chooses to call it, is an “additional” religious celebration of the marriage union. Please understand that the religious part does NOT create a “legal” marriage on it’s own. . . a marriage license is required to legalize the marriage agreement.

    Also the rainbow colored flag (a symbol of LOVE) will NOT be flying on the flagpoles of the White House or Capitol Building in Washington DC. . . no matter what Rush, FOX and all the other “Haters” say.

  7. ogre says:

    Because we hold the institution of marriage so high? What a pile of b.s. marriage has changed over the years. First women were sold. Then the parents made the deal. Next came for kids to choose there own. dont forget interracial marriage . now its changed for same sex to be included. I’m sure it will change again. Its not called the grand old party for nothing

  8. Sherry E says:

    60% support gay marriage according to a Washington Post poll. . . here is the link:

    washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/poll-gay-marriage-support-at-record-high/2015/04/22/f6548332-e92a-11e4-aae1-d642717d8afa_story.html

  9. Commom Sense says:

    Groot would rather see children being abused in foster care than being in a loving, safe home with gay parents.

  10. Lancer says:

    Why is the federal government even involved in marriage? Not their role.

  11. Sherry E says:

    Here is a list of “rights/laws” involved. . . and, if they were to vary tremendously from state, it would be a judicial fiasco:

    Right to benefits while married:
    Employment assistance and transitional services for spouses of members being separated from military service; continued commissary privileges
    Per diem payment to spouse for federal civil service employees when relocating
    Indian Health Service care for spouses of Native Americans (in some circumstances)
    Sponsor husband/wife for immigration benefits
    Larger benefits under some programs if married, including:
    Veteran’s disability
    Supplemental Security Income
    Disability payments for federal employees
    Medicaid
    Property tax exemption for homes of totally disabled veterans
    Income tax deductions, credits, rates exemption, and estimates
    Wages of an employee working for one’s spouse are exempt from federal unemployment tax[3]
    Joint and family-related rights:
    Joint filing of bankruptcy permitted
    Joint parenting rights, such as access to children’s school records
    Family visitation rights for the spouse and non-biological children, such as to visit a spouse in a hospital or prison
    Next-of-kin status for emergency medical decisions or filing wrongful death claims
    Custodial rights to children, shared property, child support, and alimony after divorce
    Domestic violence intervention
    Access to “family only” services, such as reduced rate memberships to clubs & organizations or residency in certain neighborhoods
    Preferential hiring for spouses of veterans in government jobs
    Tax-free transfer of property between spouses (including on death) and exemption from “due-on-sale” clauses.
    Special consideration to spouses of citizens and resident aliens
    Threats against spouses of various federal employees is a federal crime
    Right to continue living on land purchased from spouse by National Park Service when easement granted to spouse
    Court notice of probate proceedings
    Domestic violence protection orders
    Existing homestead lease continuation of rights
    Regulation of condominium sales to owner-occupants exemption
    Funeral and bereavement leave
    Joint adoption and foster care
    Joint tax filing
    Insurance licenses, coverage, eligibility, and benefits organization of mutual benefits society
    Legal status with stepchildren
    Making spousal medical decisions
    Spousal non-resident tuition deferential waiver
    Permission to make funeral arrangements for a deceased spouse, including burial or cremation
    Right of survivorship of custodial trust
    Right to change surname upon marriage
    Right to enter into prenuptial agreement
    Right to inheritance of property
    Spousal privilege in court cases (the marital confidences privilege and the spousal testimonial privilege)
    For those divorced or widowed, the right to many of ex- or late spouse’s benefits, including:
    Social Security pension
    Veteran’s pensions, indemnity compensation for service-connected deaths, medical care, and nursing home care, right to burial in veterans’ cemeteries, educational assistance, and housing
    survivor benefits for federal employees
    Survivor benefits for spouses of longshoremen, harbor workers, railroad workers
    Additional benefits to spouses of coal miners who die of black lung disease
    $100,000 to spouse of any public safety officer killed in the line of duty
    Continuation of employer-sponsored health benefits
    Renewal and termination rights to spouse’s copyrights on death of spouse
    Continued water rights of spouse in some circumstances
    Payment of wages and workers compensation benefits after worker death
    Making, revoking, and objecting to post-mortem anatomical gifts

  12. Bill says:

    As has been said WHY is Government involved in ones personal decision of who they are joined with?? The why is all about $$. Two homosexuals could make a legal agreement on most all personal property’s and life choices before this decision. The only thing I disagree with on homosexual unions is within adoption. If a child is up for adoption a normal couple should be first in line

  13. Anonymous says:

    Bill, define ‘normal’ couple. For too many children in our society there is no line. I realize that elementary test data is configured when planning long-range prison budgeting. But wondering if there may not be a direct positive correlation between said ‘line’ and above-referenced budgets! Any couple wanting to adopt should be considered on merit alone. Sexual orientation is so far removed from the equation…

  14. Sherry E says:

    It is ludicrous to assert that any one person or couple (gay or straight) should be required to hire an attorney to draw up contracts to cover absolutely situation that could arise in their lives! THAT is precisely why we have laws. . . laws that should not vary greatly from state to state!

    Yes, in some circumstances, it is about money. The USA is a capitalistic country. . . when you boil it down. . . isn’t almost everything about money? How does one survive without it?

  15. NortonSmitty says:

    As much as I believe issues like this and the stupid Battle Flag are designed to distract us from the fact that every day we are all getting poorer and more powerless thanks to the wealthy and International Corporations that are stealing the wealth it took the middle class generations to earn, I believe that the Republicans should own the Gay Rights debate, Seeing as they have been such single-minded thieving cocksuckers for over thirty years now.

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