Via Mediaite and MoFoPolitics, a noteworthy admission if, like me, you think this issue will be very much alive for social conservatives during the 2016 GOP primaries. If the issue’s lost, what do they do now? What do Republican candidates do? Huckabee’s kidding himself if he thinks evangelicals will walk away as a bloc over SSM (they’re not single-issue voters), but some will walk and Republicans can’t afford that. How do they push policies promoting traditional marriage when the biggest name in conservative media has already declared, three years out from the election, that defeat on this issue is inevitable?
Rush claims the battle was lost when conservatives started modifying the word “marriage” (“traditional marriage,” “straight marriage”) to describe the institution rather than insisting that the word itself necessarily refers to traditional/straight relationships and therefore doesn’t require modification. How would you have enforced that message discipline against the left, though? Their 40 percent of the country would have been calling it “gay marriage” no matter what. If in fact phraseology is influencing opinion, then theirs was bound to influence undecideds too. Things might have changed more slowly, but they still would have changed. The real reason gay marriage has gone mainstream so quickly, I think, is because gays have become so much more visible in the culture over the past 25 years. When Pew asked people who have changed their minds about SSM why they did so, the answer most frequently given was that they found out someone they know is gay. The more people come out of the closet, the more those numbers increase. In fact, and to his credit, Rush has occasionally played his own small part to increase mainstream acceptance of gays. When he needed someone to play his wedding, he asked the famously gay Elton John to do the honors, then spoke warmly of him on his first show back after the honeymoon. According to his biographer, Zev Chafets, Rush “has no problem with gay civil unions” either. When Americans hear, from both the left and some on the right, that gays deserve the same substantive rights as married couples (if perhaps under a different name) and that out-and-proud homosexuality’s no bar to friendship or an invitation to your wedding, it’s no surprise that undecideds might not end up as sticklers on whether gay partnerships can/should be described as “marriages” too.