For quite a while, conservatives used marriage equality as a culture-war “wedge issue,” taking advantage of the fact that the public was broadly opposed to equal-marriage rights.
Lately, however, the blade of the wedge has turned. Marriage rights aren’t separating the mainstream from the left; they’re separating Republicans from other Republicans.
While the Republican Party’s religious conservatives continue to fight against same-sex marriage, its governors appear to be backing off their opposition – in their rhetoric, at least…. “I don’t think the Republican Party is fighting it,” Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker said of gay marriage. He spoke with The Associated Press during an interview this weekend at the National Governors Association in Nashville.“I’m not saying it’s not important,” continued Walker, who is considering a 2016 presidential bid should he survive his reelection test this fall. “But Republicans haven’t been talking about this. We’ve been talking about economic and fiscal issues. It’s those on the left that are pushing it.”
If the point is that the left is “pushing” civil rights for same-sex families, then Walker’s argument has some merit.
But the rest of the governor’s pushback falls short. For one thing, a party emphasizing opposition to reproductive rights, opposition to contraception, opposition to immigration, and impeachment can’t claim to be “talking about economic and fiscal issues.” It’s just silly.
For another, Walker might have missed all the Republicans talking about same-sex marriage.
Take New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), for example.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Saturday that the GOP shouldn’t stop debating same-sex marriage, despite shifting national attitudes and a string of court decisions that have overturned gay marriage bans.“I don’t think there’s some referee who stands up and says, ‘OK, now it’s time for you to change your opinion,’” he told reporters at a gathering of the National Governors Association in Nashville. “The country will resolve this over a period of time. But do I think it’s resolved? No.” […]The governor said the issue should be left to the states, noting that “an overwhelming majority of states currently still ban same-sex marriage.”
What was Walker’s line again? “Republicans haven’t been talking about this”?