Tomorrow, members of the Republican National Committee will consider a resolution opposing same-sex marriage. As former RNC operatives, we feel strongly that passage of this resolution would risk further marginalization of the Republican party and would be a departure from the RNC’s primary role as a political operation as opposed to a policy shop or an advocacy group.
Democrats and the media would be quick to use the passage of such a resolution to claim uniformity of Republican views on same-sex marriage where none exists; indeed, a great many Republicans who donate to the RNC and man its volunteer operations support same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, Republican candidates and officeholders, as the leaders ultimately responsible for setting Republican policy, may lament the committee’s apparently veering onto their turf.
Passage of this resolution would please a vocal but shrinking faction of activists. However, committee members must be accountable to rank-and-file Republicans, among whom support for same-sex marriage has been consistently growing for as long as polling has been conducted on the subject. According to recent ABC News/Washington Post polling, 52 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents under the age of 50 support same-sex marriage. Among Republicans under 30, a majority also support same-sex marriage. Among evangelical Millennials, recent polling shows 64 percent support.
In New Hampshire, a majority of Republicans in the state’s General Court voted for same-sex marriage. Many tea-party Republicans disagree with the resolution’s stated support for the Defense of Marriage Act, which they consider to be unconstitutional because legislating on marriage is not within the purview of Congress’s enumerated powers. Should the RNC adopt this resolution, it will be pitting the most important of the GOP committees against all of these Republicans and conservatives.
As former RNC operatives, we firmly believe that passage of the resolution would be a significant setback in terms of party unity and branding, and would move the RNC further into a function that is outside its primary purpose: winning elections. Those voting on this resolution should reject it, and focus instead on reforms that will position the RNC to help deliver critical Republican wins in the 2014 midterms and in the 2016 presidential election. That is something we can all enthusiastically support.
— Liz Mair and Marco Nuñez are former Republican National Committee staffers and members of the Leadership Committee of the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry.