The presidential campaign is still taking shape, but we’ve already seen candidates peppered with some unexpected litmus-test questions on issues like evolutionary biology and vaccinations. But last week’s inquiry – “Would you attend a same-sex wedding?” – was perhaps the most unexpected yet.
The responses told us a little something about the White House hopefuls’ tone, but the question itself was telling – the debate over marriage equality has advanced so far that Republicans are getting pressed, not on constitutional amendments, but on wedding invitations.
Jon Stewart had a good segment on this the other day, noting, “The national shift makes it a lot less acceptable now for Republican candidates to say the kinds of things that they were saying in the last campaign cycle…. Republicans can no longer dismiss gay marriage out of hand. They must engage the question.”
But as encouraging as that shift is, what’s especially striking is the degree to which the 2016 GOP fieldhasn’t progressed – candidates appear stuck in the same old debate, repeating stale, discredited arguments while the nation passes them by. Politico reported on an Iowa event on Saturday featuring nine Republican presidential hopefuls, each trying to curry favor with the 1,000 evangelicals who gathered at the Point of Grace Church in Waukee.
[A] procession of presidential candidates expressed support for a constitutional amendment that would allow states to re-ban gay marriage if the Supreme Court recognizes a right to such unions. […]The nuanced answers from many Republican candidates in recent months took a backburner Saturday night, as several of the candidates tried to outdo one another on who could speak out most strongly against a right to gay marriage.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), echoing Rick Santorum’s 2011 rhetoric nearly word for word, told the right-wing attendees, “The institution of marriage as between one man and one woman existed even before our laws existed.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), repeating Rick Scott’s 2011 talking points, said an anti-gay constitutional amendment would be “reasonable.”
Perhaps my favorite moment came when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) condemned Democrats’ “devotion to mandatory gay marriage in all 50 states.”
I’m certainly not in a position to speak for Democrats, but I’m pretty sure they want marriage to be voluntary, not mandatory.