While many socially conservative Republicans may want the Supreme Court to rule against making gay marriage a constitutional right, they may have the most to gain in upcoming elections if the high court rules in support of it.
As a potentially contentious wedge issue in the election in 2016, a ruling in favor of gay marriage would neutralize the debate as the nation shifts in support of same-sex marriage, essentially providing cover for GOP candidates, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
Such a ruling would help socially conservative candidates from having to alienate swing voters who support gay marriage or help Republicans who support gay marriage from alienating religious voters.
In March, 300 Republicans, including 23 current or former House or Senate members, filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court
to express their support for gay marriage.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments
on the matter April 28 over whether gay marriage can be banned by states or if it is protected by the Constitution.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll,
58 percent of American adults want the Supreme Court to rule in favor of gay marriage. This poll reflects the shift in public opinion in favor of gay marriage also seen in other recent polls.
The 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study
found that most people who support gay marriage live in big cities or urban suburbs, with those who live in rural areas or evangelical hubs showing less support.
Many of the urban suburbs surveyed in the study were in swing states, such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, and Colorado, which are areas where it is necessary to gain voters for any candidate hoping to win in 2016.
Such urban suburbs were lost by both President George W. Bush in 2004 and presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. Bush lost those areas by 8 percent, when he defeated John Kerry, but Romney lost them to President Barack Obama by 16 points.
The Journal notes that for a Republican candidate to win the nomination for president in 2016, he or she must win among both social conservatives in evangelical hubs and working class counties as well as moderates in urban suburbs. And taking gay marriage off the table as a hot button issue may help with that.
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