A new report released by the College Republican National Committee has been making waves this week for its stern warning that the GOP’s appeal is foundering among young voters. Chris Moody notes that the group explicitly mentioned the party’s opposition to gay rights as a reason why young voters are repelled by the party:
"[T]he conventional wisdom is right," the study's authors write in a section on how Republicans should approach marriage policy for gay and lesbian couples. "Young people are unlikely to view homosexuality as morally wrong, and they lean toward legal recognition of same-sex relationships."
With the culture shifting away from the party's policies, here's what they recommend:
The best course of action for the party may be to promote the diversity of opinion on the issue within its ranks. (After all, for quite some time, former vice president Dick Cheney was to the left of President Obama on same-sex marriage) and to focus on acceptance and support for gay people as separate from the definition of marriage. Where the Republican Party will run into the most trouble over this issue is when it is not winning on any of the more prominent issues, either – the economy and spending. If a candidate is compelling enough on economic opportunity and spending, they may well be able to overcome a difference of opinion with young voters on same-sex marriage.
The authors conclude: "On the 'open-minded' issue, yes, we will face serious difficulty so long as the issue of gay marriage remains on the table. In the short term, the party ought to promote the diversity of thought within its ranks and make clear that we welcome healthy debate on the policy topic at hand. We should also strongly oppose the use of anti-gay rhetoric."
But it turns out the College Republican National Committee is sponsoring the “Road to the Majority Conference,” hosted by Ralph Reed’s far-right Faith & Freedom Coalition, along with other anti-gay groups like Concerned Women for America, the Manhattan Declaration, the American Civil Rights Union and televangelist Pat Robertson’s Regent University.
In fact, some of the GOP’s most stringently anti-gay leaders like Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum are scheduled to address the conference, and Robertson will receive Lifetime Achievement Award.