Conservatives threaten to ditch over marriage equality

repubBY AVIVA SHEN
ThinkProgress

Shortly before the US Supreme Court heard arguments to strike down restrictions on same-sex marriage, the Republican National Committee outraged hardline conservatives with a report calling for greater flexibility on gay rights and immigration reform in order to lure young people into the Republican Party. GOP strategist Karl Rove piled on the insult by speculating the Republican Party’s next presidential candidate could support marriage equality (though later walked it back). Evangelical leaders erupted in protest, threatening to abandon the GOP if the party were to change its increasingly unpopular stance.

The tide is changing rapidly against this so-called evangelical base of the GOP. Last week, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) became the first sitting Republican senator to declare his support for marriage equality. While a majority of all Republicans still oppose same-sex marriage, a new poll found that 49 percent of Republicans under 50 years old actually support extending the right to marry to same-sex couples.

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