Is the GOP softening its hard line on gay marriage?

Insiders says long-time opposition may be “more of a hindrance than a help”

As the Republican Party struggles to rebuild itself, party insiders are intimating its long-time opposition to gay marriage may be “more of a hindrance than a help,” the New York Times reports. The fact the recent legalization of gay unions in several states, among them Iowa, has met with little public backlash suggests a shift in national sentiment, says Steve Schmidt, a former strategist for John McCain. Indeed, where once the party’s position energized conservatives, it might now even alienate younger voters, says Schmidt. Other prominent Republicans are downplaying the issue, among them Rudy Giuliani who said recently that the “party does best organizing itself around economic issues and issues of national security.” Not that anyone expects a complete volte-face: social conservatives in Iowa are currently organizing to try to amend the state Constitution to restore the ban. But it’s clear the GOP’s focus on the issue is shifting along with the national mood: “I think it’s likely that all our candidates will be against gay marriage,” Schmidt said. “But the point is this: There should be a de-emphasis on this issue. This is not the most important issue facing the country.”

New York Times

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