HRC Blog

Former RNC Chair: Time for Conservatives to Embrace Marriage Equality

Wedding rings; LGBT equality; Marriage equality; Same-sex marriagePost submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

Former Republican National Committee Chair Ken Mehlman makes a compelling case in today’s Wall Street Journal for why supporting marriage equality is fundamental to some of the core values the Republican Party embraces – including a less intrusive government and increased personal freedom. Mehlman, who recently helped launch Project Right Side to study attitudes on equality among right-of-center Americans, writes:

Conservatives don't need to change core convictions to embrace the growing support for equal rights for gay Americans. It is sufficient to recognize the inherent conservatism in citizens' desire to marry, to be judged on their work, and not to be singled out for higher taxes or bullying at school. These objectives can be achieved while also protecting religious liberty, as demonstrated by states enacting civil marriage with exemptions for religious institutions.


Mehlman also cites recent data, including exit polls from election night, illustrating the growing momentum for equality among those on the right:

  • There was strong support for Maryland’s Question 6, even in predominantly right-leaning counties where Mitt Romney beat President Obama.
  • A majority of independent voters – nearly 60 percent – support marriage equality. Eighty percent of independents told pollsters they wanted the government to stay out of the private lives of adults – including gays and lesbians.
  • Nearly 75 percent of Republicans support workplace non-discrimination protections for gay and lesbian Americans.

Read Mehlman’s full piece.

The conservative support for marriage equality goes beyond the polling. This summer, a group of young conservatives at the Republican National Convention attempted to insert a pro-equality plank into the party platform. And earlier this year, HRC partnered with Freedom to Marry in releasing an ad highlighting the numerous high-profile Republicans who support marriage equality:

Mehlman summarizes what the growing momentum for marriage equality among conservatives means:

These trends are accelerating, not going away. And I hope and trust that they will accelerate even faster as conservatives, and all Americans who cherish freedom, commitment and stability, support equal rights under the law for all citizens.

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