Same-Sex Marriage on Conservatives' 2012 Agenda

During the 2004 election, the GOP pushed anti-same-sex marriage amendments onto the ballot across the country to turnout their base voters for George W. Bush’s re-election campaign. LGBTQ civil rights may once again be at stake in the 2012 election season if a series of connected state-level conservative organizations have their way. At The Minnesota Independent Andy Birkey details an extensive effort underway called "Ignite an Enduring Cultural Transformation," which seeks to fund ballot initiatives against same-sex marriage in 15 different states next year.

Family policy councils — a creation of Focus on the Family in the 1980s — have launched the Ignite plan in 15 states. Each family policy council has a three-prong plan to achieve their legislative goals over the next two years: lobbying for legislation, mobilizing pastors and social conservatives and supporting candidates that have backed their initiatives. Each group has used a stock brochure containing nearly identical wording to explain their plan and to solicit funds. In many cases, an Ignite plan was launched with an anonymous matching-grant donor.

The Ignite plan is being implemented to various degrees in different states, with the Minnesota Family Council set to spend $4.71 million over the next two years. Various state chapters have received endorsements from a host of national politicians including Mitt Romney, Eric Cantor, Marco Rubio, and Bobby Jindal among others.

The Republicans’ anti-civil-rights agenda seems increasingly damaging for their future electoral success. Polls consistently trend toward increased support for gay marriage and other LGBTQ civil liberties. A new survey from PPP today showed that even among Republican voters, a majority support some legal recognition for same same-sex couples, whether it is civil unions or same-sex marriage. Foretelling the most trouble for Republicans in future elections is the sharp age divide between older voters and younger generations. As long as that trend holds, within the next decade when the voters most opposed to equality begin dying off, the new political landscape could punish the GOP for its current intolerant stance.

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