At an event hosted on Monday by Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, daughter of former presidential candidate John McCain and blogger Meghan McCain said that “being a Republican who supports gay marriage is a bitch.”
The event, held at a restaurant in Washington D.C., was designed to highlight new members of the group’s leadership committee and highlight the work of young conservatives who are working to pass same sex marriage laws in the states, including the president of the New Hampshire Federation of College Republicans, Jacob P. Wagner.
Tyler Deaton, the group’s campaign manager, signed on to an amicus brief along with other Republicans last month calling for the Supreme Court to overturn California’s Proposition 8, which banned same sex marriage in the state after the state’s Supreme Court had legalized it.
But this event came just after conservatives convened just outside of Washington D.C. for the Conservative Political Action Conference, which banned the presence of LGBT-friendly groups like GOProud. An unofficial panel on marriage equality at the conference was reportedly packed while anti-LGBT speakers addressed a largely empty room.
Though Deaton told Raw Story the group was singularly focused on marriage equality, great-granddaughter of President Hoover and conservative LGBT rights activist Margaret Hoover suggested that she hoped to see a future where conservatives took on other LGBT rights issues, including the Violence Against Women Act, which was largely opposed by Republicans due in part to expansion of protections to LGBT partners.
“It ended up passing with 87 Republican votes,” Hoover said. “That is a great leap forward for the Republican party. Those 87 Republican members are now the first people we’re going to go to as we talk about employment non-discrimination on the federal level and as we talk about [the Defense of Marriage Act] repeal. Now we have 87 people who are going to be open to it because it was included in that statute. Look, that really broke precedent, so I see it as a positive.”
Hoover also said she was encouraged by the Republican Party “autopsy” report released on Monday, which said, “Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays — and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be.”
A Washington Post-ABC poll released on Monday also found that “a slim majority” of young conservatives support same sex marriage, indicating that support for marriage equality is at an all-time high.
“[Republican National Committee chair] Reince [Priebus] today told Wolf Blitzer on CNN, we want a Republican party where Rob Portman and [Rand] Paul and Marco Rubio all are in the same room. And that’s code for ‘freedom to marry’ gets a seat at the table,” she said. “So there really is a new movement, a new day, for the conservative movement, for the Republican party. It’s all starting now. The timing is perfect.”
[Photo credit: Kay Steiger]