Democratic Party officials met in Minneapolis over the weekend and moved towards changing their platform: going forward, the party will officially support marriage equality. The decision is not yet final – party leaders still need to approve the final language – but by all appearances, the 2012 platform will reflect this historic shift.
And while this was a pretty big story in the political world yesterday, and I saw plenty of news accounts, what I didn’t notice was any Republican pushback whatsoever. Maggie Haberman noticed this, too.
The move by the Democratic National Committee to put gay marriage into the party’s platform at the convention for the first time ever could never have happened had President Barack Obama not taken a public position on it before the election (and there is a split in the reporting on whether that was forced by Vice President Joe Biden going public first).
But what has been most remarkable about the announcement is the lack of pushback from mainstream Republicans. There has been very little by way of outcry over the decision, which was not made clear until today and which has been discussed behind closed doors for weeks by Democrats.
There was no press release from the Republican National Committee; no statement from the Romney campaign; no screaming headlines about an “attack on traditional values” aired on Fox News. Democrats will become the first major American political party to change its platform to endorse legal protections for same-sex couples who wish to marry, and in a development that was hard to even imagine in the not-too-distant past, no one is blinking an eye.
If the right saw an electoral opportunity by going on the offensive on this, Republicans would take it. And therein lies the point – the political winds have shifted quickly and anti-gay bigotry no longer translates into votes. The GOP didn’t attack President Obama when he endorsed marriage equality in May, and the party didn’t attack Democrats yesterday, not just because Dems are on the right side of history, but because Republicans no longer want to advertise about being on the wrong side of public opinion.
Between this and the Obama campaign’s ads on reproductive rights, the culture war appears to have entered a very different phase.