Craig Stowell is a Republican and Marine Corps veteran featured in one of the Respect for Marriage Coalition ads. “I didn’t use to understand the importance of same-sex marriage, but after learning my brother was gay I wanted the same rights for him,” he said in the commercial. “He was the best man at my wedding and I want to be the best man at his.”
“A lot of people my age and younger don’t understand the allure of this issue,” Stowell told TheDC News Foundation. “I’d be happy just to have [opposition to gay marriage] taken out of the party platform.”
Former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman argued “marriage equality is a conservative cause” in an article for The American Conservative, a magazine co-founded by Pat Buchanan. Huntsman is also a former governor of the socially conservative, predominantly Mormon state of Utah.
Republican strategist Liz Mair told TheDC News Foundation that shifting on marriage would even help the party close the technology gap with the Democrats, a deficiency noted in the last two presidential elections. “It’s just a fact that actual technologists — the people building the tools and systems of the future in Silicon Valley, Redmond, Northern Virginia, Austin, and the people who we don’t currently have sufficient access to because they just aren’t that into the GOP — are overwhelmingly either liberal or libertarian,” she said in an email. “We’re not going to get the liberals, but we can get the people who are for lower taxes and less regulation.”