The former Iowa advisor for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign said the Republican party should heed the demographic shift on issues like marriage equality.
“Frankly, the culture wars are kind of over,” Dave Kochel told WHO-TV on Sunday. “And Republicans largely lost.”
Kochel, a longtime GOP strategist in the state, said his stance was informed by his children, one of whom is a high school senior and one a college student.
“When they talk to me about what they care about and what their counterparts in school are talking about, it’s not gay marriage and it’s not abortion and birth control,” he said. “Those are largely settled issues for young voters. And so, I think we’ve got to move past it.”
Romney’s own stance on the issue shifted slightly during his campaign. As The Advocate reported in October 2012, a campaign spokesperson said that while the former Massachusetts governor pledged in writing to support the Defense of Marriage Act and a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, he did believe that states had the right to define their own rules regarding same-sex partners’ access to adoption and hospital visitation rights.
However, it was also discovered that another of his advisors, Jay Sekulow, supported campaigns to make homosexuality and abortion illegal in Africa.
Kochel was speaking in advance of a Monday appearance by former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman. Mehlman, a former advisor to President George W. Bush, has also urged the party to support the LGBT community’s push for the right to marry since coming out in 2010.
“Some misperceive the issue of marriage equality as exclusively progressive,” Mehlman wrote in a column for The Wall Street Journal in November 2012. “Yet what could be more conservative than support for more freedom and less government? And what freedom is more basic than the right to marry the person you love? Smaller, less intrusive government surely includes an individual deciding whom to marry. Allowing civil marriage for same-sex couples will cultivate community stability, encourage fidelity and commitment, and foster family values.”