In 2012, Newt Gingrich said of same-sex marriage, “It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to … accommodate and deal with reality.”
Gingrich is by no means the first conservative to support, or at least be more accommodating, of gay Americans. Ann Coulter has been outspokenly gay-friendly for years now. Andrew Breitbart once boycotted CPAC for excluding the gay group GOProud. S.E. Cupp thinks Republicans should be making the conservative case for gay marriage. Glenn Beck not only supports gay marriage but this week denounced homophobia in no uncertain terms.
Recent polls have shown that while most conservatives still oppose gay marriage, that majority is shrinking. Among 18-29 year old conservatives, the majority already does support same-sex marriage.
But throughout conservatism’s history, there has always been a consensus about smaller government. Conservatives have long believed that the government that governs best, governs least. Conservatives have generally agreed with Ronald Reagan that government isn’t the solution to our problems, government is the problem.
But for conservatives serious about shrinking government, the right’s focus on gay marriage has been a problem.
In 2004, conservatives should’ve been reading George W. Bush the riot act. By the time of his re-election campaign, Bush had doubled the Department of Education with No Child Left Behind, given us the largest entitlement expansion since Lyndon Johnson with Medicare Plan D and grew the national debt more than his Democrat predecessor.
In every election, party leadership worries about turning out their base. If there was ever a time for limited government advocates to stay home in protest, 2004 was certainly it.
That is, until “the architect” Karl Rove found an issue that he thought would energize the GOP base: a federal ban on gay marriage.
That election also delivered, again, the most big government Republican president in American history, as Bush continued to double down on his big spending agenda right up until his final days in office.
But at least America was safe from the “threat” of gay marriage.