Rick Santorum’s triple win in Minnesota, Missouri, and Colorado was an indication conservative voters are not yet willing to concede the GOP presidential nomination to “Massachusetts liberal” Mitt Romney. The emergence of several hot button social issues onto the political scene could help out Santorum and his conservative compatriot, Newt Gingrich.
With the Ninth Circuit decision that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, same-sex marriage joins contraception and abortion as red meat for social conservatives looking to generate voter enthusiasm. And the GOP presidential candidates are taking advantage.
Gingrich was the first to pounce. The former speaker had already said he wanted to abolish the Ninth Circuit judges because of their supposedly “anti-American” decisions.
Their ruling on Prop 8 gave Gingrich more ammunition. He fired off this tweet:
In fact, he has vowed to invalidate same-sex marriages as president. Here is Santorum’s reaction to the Prop 8 decision:
7M Californians had their rights stripped away today by activist 9th Circuit judges. As president I will work to protect marriage.— Rick Santorum (@RickSantorum) February 7, 2012
Mitt Romney’s situation is trickier. He has less experience spewing anti-gay hate than his competitors. Homophobia is one of the new positions Romney is trying out for this year’s GOP primary.
But the former Massachusetts Governor again tried to boost his social conservative credentials with this statement:
“Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage. This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. That prospect underscores the vital importance of this election and the movement to preserve our values. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.”
Do you think the Prop 8 decision and the other prominent social issues will affect the GOP primary? How about the general election? Let us know in the comments.