Political strategist Rove says Republican candidates could be for gay marriage

Sun. March 24, 2013 4:39 PM by Jay Shaff

karl rove

photo credit // twitter.com

Money will influence politician's social agendas

Washington, DC - Sunday on ABC News This Week with George Stephanopoulos, former Bush deputy chief of staff Karl Rove weighed in on same-sex marriage. When asked by the host "can you imagine the next presidential campaign, a Republican candidate saying flat out I am for gay marriage?" Rove responded: "I could."

Rove, a long-time Republican political strategist and current FOX News Channel contributor, is considered to be far right by many, but his comments today showed pragmatism as well.

GOP fundraisers and strategists realize that softening their stance on social issues such as gay rights and gay marriage will open checkbooks in parts of the country, such as New York, California and Florida, which tend to be more liberal regarding social issues.

Some Republicans observe that Sen. Rob Portman's (R-OH) change to support of gay marriage will open new doors to the party and candidates previously closed by old guard conservatives.

California Republican strategist Aaron McLear said "Republicans' intolerance to marriage equality has been detrimental to winning. Big donors understand that they don't want to invest in campaigns focused on a losing issue, and I think certainly the fiscal issues for Republicans are much more marketable."

The evolution of American society on the issue of gay marriage has been faster moving than any other civil rights issue in recent time. Today, polls suggest that 58% of all Americans support gay marriage, up from 37% ten years ago. A resounding 81% of young people are in favor of gay marriage.

"There is something like an emerging consensus," conservative commentator and columnist George Will said. "Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying. It's old people."

Following Portman's March 15, 2013 announcement, last week former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton (D-NY) publically endorsed gay marriage, a change from her oppositionist stance in the 2008 campaign. President Obama also was against gay marriage until last year.

Jeff Cook, Senior Advisor to American Unity PAC said "As Republicans, we believe strongly in the American Dream. Too often government serves as an obstacle to prosperity for millions of Americans – confiscating their wealth with escalating taxes, strangling their businesses with burdensome regulations and undermining our economy with unsustainable spending and increasing uncertainty. For Americans who happen to be gay or lesbian, it goes one step farther, denying them the same rights and responsibilities extended to every other taxpaying family. We believe the American Dream belongs to all of us, regardless of our orientation." The American Unity PAC operates to promote and protect inclusive Republicans.