It’s not clear how much money could come from donors supportive of the party’s move toward new thoughts on gay marriage. Pro gay-rights donors have long been an important source of campaign cash for Democrats, including after President Barack Obama pushed through a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which barred openly gay people from serving in the military.

And operatives believe the money is there for Republicans, too.

Several lawmakers told POLITICO the issue has come up in meetings with potential big donors, who take a different view than the party base.

Portman himself has taken heat from New York donors who believe the party’s emphasis on social issues is one of the major reasons for losses this fall. Their views were taken so seriously that Portman, vice chairman of finance for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, held a dozen meetings with big New York donors recently in an attempt to assuage their fears about the direction of the party.