Opinion

Shift on same-sex marriage could ameliorate GOP tech woes

A report by Buzzfeed the day after the election said that younger, more socially liberal Republican operatives were experiencing a sense of relief at the end of the election in the hopes that their own technological savvy would be taken into greater account in the coming election cycles.

“We’re living in a new political reality on the issue of same-sex marriage,” said LaSaliva, in reference to the state ballot measures on same-sex marriage that were passed during this election cycle.

LaSaliva noted, however, that Republicans showed in 2010 that they could win elections by focusing on the size and scope of government.

Still, he said, GOProud has a lot of gay and straight supporters from the tech industry. Even if an individual in the tech community is straight, chances are they know someone who is not.

High-profile examples of support for same-sex marriage from the tech community include the $2.5 million check from Jeff Bezos, Amazon co-founder and CEO, and his wife MacKenzie Bezos, in support of Washington’s gay marriage effort.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, have donated a total of $600,000 to the effort, as have Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie Snyder.

Tech executives and their spouses are not the only ones from the community advocating for same-sex marriage: Whole companies are taking a stand on the issue.

In July, Google announced a worldwide campaign, “Legalize Love,” in support of LGBT marriage.

That same month, Facebook announced that it was adding marriage icons that depicted same sex couples. In 2011, Facebook made “In a Civil Union” and “In a Domestic Partnership” available relationship status options for user profiles. Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is openly gay.

Such a shift would not be without consequences and backlash, as party division over same sex marriage has caused enormous infighting. One public fight was over GOProud’s higher profile participation in the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

More socially conservative institutions like The Heritage Foundation boycotted the event in the past, but voices sympathetic to gay libertarians — including the late Andrew Breitbart — offered to boycott CPAC in support of GOProud. Breitbart ultimately attended the event as a keynote speaker.

GOProud’s participation has since been downgraded, and Heritage and other have ended their boycott.