Muted GOP Reaction to Portman Gay Marriage Switch

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 16 2013 4:30 PM

Muted GOP Reaction to Portman Gay Marriage Switch Illustrates Shifting Views in Leadership

154169453
Sen. Rob Portman wasn't criticized for switching his stance on marriage equality

Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Rob Portman became the highest-profile GOP lawmaker to support gay marriage while in office this week. But rather than the shockwaves and condemnation that would have surely followed such an endorsement not too long ago, the move was received with a deafening silence across the GOP leadership. Instead, Republicans inside the beltway largely welcomed the switch, an illustration of how the GOP elite widely favors marriage equality, even if most Republican voters do not, points out Politico. Some Republican lawmakers are increasingly trying to strike a middle ground, but in Washington “it is probably more acceptable to favor gay marriage as a Republican consultant than to oppose it,” points out Politico.

Portman’s switch led the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza to affirm that “the political debate on gay marriage is effectively over.”  That doesn’t mean the GOP will suddenly change positions on marriage equality. But it does suggest that pretty soon Republican leaders will stop talking about the issue, a bit like Democrats stopped talking about guns when the base stopped caring about the issue in the mid 1990s.

Advertisement

That attitude appeared to be in full display at the annual gathering of conservatives this week, where speakers mostly avoided talking about gay marriage. Less than a decade ago, opposition to same-sex marriage was a rallying cry at the Conservative Political Action Conference but now things seem to have changed, points out Politico.

“My sense is that a platform fight within the party is still eight to 10 years away, but that moment is coming,” a Republican strategist tells the Christian Science Monitor.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.