Attitudes toward same-sex marriage are shifting in the US. Some Republicans worry that the GOP may be alienating the next generation of young conservatives if the party continues to oppose gay marriage.
He surely didn’t plan it this way, but the announcement by US Sen. Rob Portman (R) of Ohio that he now supports same-sex marriage highlighted the Conservative Political Action Conference’s difficulty with one of the most contentious political issues.
Some at the three-day CPAC meeting of conservative activists and prominent Republicans hit gay marriage head-on.
"Just because I believe that states should have the right to define marriage in a traditional way does not make me a bigot," US Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida told a cheering crowd.
“We cannot hope to limit government if we do not stand up for our core civil society institutions, beginning with marriage,” said former Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina, now president of the conservative Heritage Foundation.
"People can love whom they want and live the way they choose," Mr. DeMint said, "but no one is entitled to redefine a foundational institution of civil society that has existed for centuries."
“What we need is people standing up more than ever for marriage as between a man and a woman,” Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, told one panel discussion.