Adapt or Die: The GOP Should Embrace Gay Marriage So They Can Stay Politically Relevant To Young People

In June, same sex marriage advocates won a major victory when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had a right to marry in all 50 states. The ruling was a major step forward for the LGBT community and has become a massive political powder keg for the Republican Party.

As the GOP primaries continue, many conservative leaders and presidential hopefuls have come out strongly against the Supreme Court decision in the hope of striking a chord with the religious right.

Mike Huckabee has repeatedly denounced the Supreme Court decision, going as far as to compare the Supreme Court to King George III. Huckabee was also present when Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk imprisoned for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was released from prison and has vowed to protect Davis’ constitutional rights.

Although Huckabee has been one of the most vocal in his outrage against the Supreme Court’s decision, he is far from the only opponent.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has said that the ruling “tramples states rights” and that “no earthly court” can alter God’s will. Sen. Ted Cruz also came out against the ruling, going as far as proposing a constitutional amendment that would make justices subject to “periodic judicial retention elections”.

Although statements such as these may prove to resonate amongst the conservative base of the party, the statistics prove that they are out of touch with the viewpoint held by the majority of Americans. According to research done by the Pew Research Center, 57% of Americans now favor making same-sex marriage legal. Among millennials this number increases to nearly 73%.

So why do so many Republicans still come out so staunchly against or apathetical to same sex marriage? To understand this political paradox, one need only remember that we are in the middle of the Republican primaries.

The party finds itself at the same crossroad that the Democrats were at during the 1960’s. The party was torn between the traditional Southern Democrats who stood opposed to Civil Rights, and New Deal Progressives who were adapting to meet the demands of the American people.

In politics as in nature, the side that most often wins is the side that is most capable of adapting to the new political environment. The more inclusive any political movement is and the more receptive it is to change, the more likely that political movement is to grow in size and strength. Those who oppose this change in favor of exclusive and absolutist politics more often than not will find themselves facing extinction, and relegation to the waste bin of history.

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Cover Photo Credit: Michael Vadon/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

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About the Author
Kyle Jones is a columnist with Rise News. He is a senior honors student at the University of Alabama, studying Political Science and Spanish with a focus on Public Policy Studies.
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