He warns that Republicans should evolve on gay marriage or else risk becoming irrelevant. He cites the rapidly changing polling data: up until 2009, approval of gay marriage increased at about 1% per year. Starting in 2010, it accelerated to about 5% a year. Recent polls show that supporters outnumber opponents 49% to 40%.
Support is stronger among Democrats and Independents, but among Republicans it is also growing. The majority of them now support legal protections of civil rights.
Van Lohuizen then recommends that Republican candidates take a more moderate position, and he has model talking positions for them to use. The most remarkable being how to address the objection of conservatives:
Andrew Sullivan reacted to this as follows:“As people who promote personal responsibility, family values, commitment and stability, and emphasize freedom and limited government we have to recognize that freedom means freedom for everyone. This includes the freedom to decide how you live and to enter into relationships of your choosing, the freedom to live without excessive interference of the regulatory force of government."
The last paragraph is, to my mind, the most remarkable. It's advising Republican candidates to emphasize the conservative nature of gay marriage, to say how it encourages personal responsibility, commitment, stability and family values. It uses Dick Cheney's formula (which was for a couple of years, the motto of this blog) that "freedom means freedom for everyone." And it uses David Cameron's argument that you can be for gay marriage because you are a conservative. . . .
And the walls came tumbling down.Nobody, including David Brooks himself, seems to want to revisit a column he wrote for the New York Times on November 22, 2003, in which he said the same thing. But I saved it because it was so remarkable. Brooks must have gotten a lot of negative feedback from his fellow conservatives at the time, because to my knowledge he has not written about it since. But here is what Brooks wrote in 2003, which is available in his archive on the internet.
"The conservative course is not to banish gay people from making such commitments. It is to expect that they make such commitments. We shouldn't just allow gay marriage. We should insist on gay marriage. We should regard it as scandalous that two people could claim to love each other and not want to sanctify their love with marriage and fidelity.
I agree with Andrew Sullivan. The walls [are about to] come tumbling down.When liberals argue for gay marriage, they make it sound like a really good employee benefits plan. Or they frame it as a civil rights issue, like extending the right to vote. Marriage is not voting. It's going to be up to conservatives to make the important, moral case for marriage, including gay marriage. Not making it means drifting further into the culture of contingency, which, when it comes to intimate and sacred relations, is an abomination."
It's been happening at an increasing pace. Obama just moved the stone that was holding back the avalanche. Let's hope it moves so fast that, when the Prop 8 case reaches the U. S. Supreme Court (maybe next year) it will seem that overturning Prop 8 is merely bringing the court in tune with the country, rather than leading it on a social issue, which some justices would be loathe to do, even if they personally think it should be overturned.