I am 23 years old, a woman, a Republican, and a gay marriage supporter. And, yes, I believe it is possible to be all of these things at the same time. However, over the course of this last election, it has come to my attention that my generation does not believe a Republican can be socially liberal. As a result, many of my peers are voting Democrat based on social issues alone. This needs to stop, now.
Democrats try to claim the spotlight as the supporters of the movement for equal rights for gays. They have added a provision for gay marriage into their Official Party Platform for the first time this year. It may come as a surprise, then, that we can thank a few wealthy, Libertarian-minded Republicans for the legislative approval of gay marriage in New York.
While fiscal issues often lead Libertarians to vote for Republican candidates, the principles of Libertarianism are those of ultimate liberty and personal freedom -- values which also lead to support of marriage equality. And, Republicans who support both fiscal conservatism and social liberalism can be the game changers and the tie breakers when it comes to social issues. The New York Times writes of Republican Hedge Funder Paul Singer,
He was pivotal in rounding up about $250,000 apiece for the Republican state senators in New York whose votes for same-sex marriage provided its margin of victory in the Legislature.
Although Singer could not convince every Republican, particularly socially conservative Republicans, to vote for equal rights, he found the ones who would and he made sure their vote counted. And, as we all know, in politics it’s the swing votes that really matter.
Ultimately, Republicans need to spread the word that they, too, have a voice in the equal rights movement, no matter how small it is. Republicans like Paul Singer continue to support gay marriage campaigns across different states, recently in both Maryland and New Hampshire. Additionally, Singer has also recently started a pro-gay Republican Super PAC to promote this issue. Meanwhile, Republicans should thank him for starting to change the perception of the party as die-hards for the Defense of Marriage Act.
My generation tends to be very socially liberal. A CNN poll found that 73% of those aged 18-34 support marriage equality. Republicans need to show that they understand this trend and are willing to get in the game, or else risk losing the youth vote permanently. Plus, the sooner we get social issues signed, sealed, and out of the way, the sooner we can get back to talking about what really matters: the economy and how to fix it.