Opinion

Can Republicans Win In A Post-Gay Marriage America?

Terry Schilling American Principles Project

There’s only one thing that can stop the left’s assault on Christians and those that hold the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman – electoral pain and suffering.

We have to beat them on Election Day, and we have to beat them badly.

Since even before the Obergefell decision – mandating gay marriage in all 50 states – radicals on the left have been moving to brand those with Judeo-Christian views on sexuality and marriage as hateful bigots – the moral equivalent of racists. Now, they are working to pass laws and enforce regulations that force religious schools, churches, charities, and universities to choose between their existence and their faith.

And why should they stop? It’s not like they have faced a unified opposition. Social conservatives have been divided – focusing on several solutions like a federal marriage amendment, overturning Obergefell, and even outright ignoring Obergefell if we elect a Republican president in 2016. But these measures all take time. There has been nothing in the short-term to stop the far Left’s anti-Christian onslaught. Nothing – that is – until now.

Finally, conservatives have something to rally around – it’s called the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). Conservatives from all over the political spectrum, including several top contenders for the GOP nomination in 2016, are unifying in support of this legislation that will protect religious schools, churches, and charities from being punished by government for their sincerely held beliefs on marriage.

Two of the top three GOP candidates, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), have committed to prioritizing the passage of FADA within their first 100 days in office. In fact, all major GOP candidates, with the exception of Governor Chris Christie (R-New Jersey) and Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio), have expressed support for this important legislation. Even Donald Trump has agreed to support it.

But FADA is not just a policy solution to help stave off the left’s anti-religious agenda. It’s also a political opportunity for Republicans, and it puts states like Ohio and Pennsylvania in play in 2016.

In 2004, Republicans successfully used marriage as a wedge issue to drive turnout in key swing states like Ohio in order to win the presidency. I doubt many would refute this point. Marriage has always been an issue that transcended partisan politics. Even in California in 2008, Proposition 8 (which banned gay marriage) outperformed John McCain by almost 2 million votes. In 2012, there were four states where marriage was on the ballot, and the traditional marriage vote outperformed Romney in each state.

In 2016, the stakes are far higher than before. It’s not about the legality of gay marriage anymore – it’s evolved into something far more sinister.

Imagine government decreeing that your local church must either perform gay weddings or lose its tax-exempt status, forcing the parish you’ve attended for decades to shut down.

Imagine the local Christian adoption agency that you donate money to each year being forced to place children in homes with gay parents – or have their license pulled by the state.

Imagine the Christian university you graduated from having their accreditation pulled, along with their ability to receive federal student aid, all for adhering to biblical principles – leading to fewer students attending, a larger financial strain, and less donations.

Will you vote for a candidate that will attack and shut these organizations down? Or will you vote for the candidate that will protect the religious freedom of these organizations? I know where the majority of Americans will be. I know where the majority of swing state voters will be. And I can promise you – they won’t be with Hillary Clinton.

But this is the position the far left is forcing on the Democratic Party. With their soaring, exaggerated, and demagogic rhetoric, they’ve forced all of their candidates to accept the position that anyone who believes in traditional marriage must be punished and must be eliminated from public life.

The anti-religious LGBT faction is prepared to fight on this issue. They’re ready to risk it all politically to shut down Christian schools and churches. And the Democratic Party is right behind them.

The question is, what will the Republican Party do? Will they join the social conservatives coalescing around FADA and fight on this issue? Or will they attempt to play dead – and lose – like they did in 2012 when the Left launched the successful “War on Women” narrative?

This is the sleeper issue of 2016. This is where the Left is plotting to attack the Republican nominee. Get ready, it’s coming.

But if we fight back this time – and aggressively advocate for our First Amendment rights to religious freedom – we will win.