Gay Marriage Could Bring Shifts In Republican Race

Republican presidential candidates are joining New Hampshire's intensifying gay marriage debate — whether they like it or not.

State lawmakers plan to take up a measure to repeal the law allowing same-sex couples to wed and a vote is expected at some point in January — the same month as New Hampshire holds the nation's first Republican presidential primary contest. Already, candidates have been put on the spot over the divisive social issue when most, if not all, would rather be talking about the economy, voters' No. 1 concern.

The impending focus on gay marriage carries risk for several of White House contenders — including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former businessman Herman Cain — whose inconsistencies on the topic are well documented.

Recent polls have shown former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at or near the top of the field, along with Romney. With a little less than six weeks to go until the lead-off Iowa caucuses, people are listening to the former nemesis of Bill Clinton and would-be challenger to President Barack Obama.

But this issue may cause Gingrich problems. Earlier in the fall, he told an Iowa audience that gay marriage is a "temporary aberration" likely to go away because it defies convention. Gingrich, who has been married three times, has a half-sister in a same-sex marriage.

"The truth is that you're living in a world that no longer exists," Candace Gingrich-Jones wrote the former speaker in a letter posted on the Huffington Post in 2008: "In other words, stop being a hater, big bro."

The Republican candidates' increasingly vocal support for "traditional marriage" also threatens to alienate a growing number of younger Republicans and independents here who support legal recognition of same-sex couples. That note of divisiveness could bode poorly for the eventual Republican challenger to Obama in the general election.

Even so, the Republican candidates aren't shying away from the topic as they run for the nomination of a party dominated by conservatives and pushed further to the right by the tea party over the last few years.

"As conservatives, we believe in the sanctity of life, we believe in the sanctity of traditional marriage, and I applaud those legislators in New Hampshire who are working to defend marriage between one man and one woman realizing that children need to be raised in a loving home by a mother and a father," Perry told a New Hampshire audience recently, becoming the latest contender to address gay marriage directly.

Although the issue hasn't yet become a regular talking point on the campaign trail, most Republican candidates declare support for the effort to repeal the law. And groups like the National Organization for Marriage hope to force the presidential contenders to publicly embrace the repeal.

Romney was the Massachusetts governor when his state legalized gay marriage. The Romney administration, as directed by the courts, granted nearly 200 same-sex marriage requests for gay and lesbian couples in 2005.

Campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said the former governor had little choice but to follow the state Supreme Court ruling at the time. He noted his candidate's consistent opposition to both civil unions and gay marriages, adding that Romney openly supports the New Hampshire repeal effort.

But Romney has reversed himself on whether gay marriage should be addressed at the state or federal level.

This past June, he said during a debate that he favors a federal constitutional amendment banning the practice. That's been his position at least since the beginning of his 2008 presidential bid, when he was the only major Republican candidate to support such an amendment.

But as a Massachusetts Senate candidate back in 1994, Romney told a Boston-area gay newspaper that same-sex marriage is "a state issue as you know — the authorization of marriage on a same-sex basis falls under state jurisdiction." Aides say it's unfair to scrutinize Romney's position in 1994 — when there was virtually no discussion of a federal amendment. And they suggest Romney's rivals have far more blatant inconsistencies in recent months.

Both Perry and Cain have drawn conservative criticism for recent comments related to gay marriage.

Asked in mid-October whether he supports a federal marriage amendment, Cain told the Christian Broadcasting Network that federal legislation is necessary to protect traditional marriage. That seemed to be a direct contradiction from his statement of just six days earlier, when he told "Meet the Press" host David Gregory that states should be allowed to make up their own minds.

"I wouldn't seek a constitutional ban for same sex marriage, but I am pro traditional marriage," Cain told Gregory.

In Perry's case, the Texas governor says he supports the New Hampshire repeal. But in July he said that New York's move to legalize gay marriage was "fine by me." A week later, facing social conservative criticism, he walked back the comments.

"It's fine with me that the state is using their sovereign right to decide an issue. Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me," he said then.

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  • by Disgusted Location: ENC on Nov 29, 2011 at 11:37 AM
    In my opinion, gays should be able to live together but when it comes to children, I have a hard time. God made men and women diffrently for a reason. It was so they could bear children. I can't imagine growing up in a household with 2 mothers or 2 daddys. Do they address them as mom 1 and mom 2?????? It is just plain not right. I am entitled to my opinion and you are entitled to yours. Please leave the little ones alone.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 26, 2011 at 05:31 PM
    This should be a decision made at the state level.
  • by Teddy Location: Greenville on Nov 26, 2011 at 05:01 PM
    Me and my life partner Barlow want to be the first to tie the know in Greenville !
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Nov 27, 2011 at 06:16 AM in reply to Teddy
      Naah, Barlow has the manthing, manlove for his Obama if only Michelle would step asside.....
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011 at 04:30 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        you would be so quick to slander another person Aren't you the one that keeps sheep in the basement ? I know you do. You have said in earlier past post !
  • by Jesse Location: New Bern on Nov 26, 2011 at 02:39 PM
    I too support Gay Marriage. As a closeted polygamist I am happy to support this civil rights issue. Knowing that once gay marriage is finally legalized, that I can look forward to the legitimization of the loving relationships that I enjoy with my three wives and seven children.
    • reply
      by ET on Nov 26, 2011 at 05:37 PM in reply to Jesse
      Jesse: God bless you. (3) wives. Are you sane? Have you had to see a shrink ? One is plenty. If I had three I would definetly have to be committed in Dorthy Dix.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 12:41 PM in reply to ET
        Sounds like Jesse has his stuff together better than you do then.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 29, 2011 at 05:52 AM in reply to Jesse
      Long as the you don't use polygamy to hide tax-fraud I don't really see why it should be illegal either.
  • by The truth on Nov 26, 2011 at 09:57 AM
    I am a christian, I am a firm disbelievier in being gay or A.K.A HOMOsexual, i find it very gross, but i am also a firm believer in THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION,who it not be illegal to say a white person can not marry a black person or any other race of person? We all should have a right to marry who we love and not be forced to chose based on others thoughts of religion. For who we seek to demonize may infact demonize ourselfs in the face of who we claim to be acting in the name of.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 26, 2011 at 05:46 PM in reply to The truth
      Homosexuality is a behavior. It is not a race, gender or nationality issue. People are already free to love whomever they want.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 06:18 AM in reply to
        Um, you just made yourself look dumb,,, if that was the case then why is there a fight for gay marriage, dumb dumb,lol, what a smuck. Yes you can love anyone, but apperently not openly so are they really , FREE to love anyone, when they will not be reconized as like others who are FREE to marry. um think not, if you cant have good clear thoughts then keep the dumb ones to yourself.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011 at 04:28 PM in reply to
        Heterosexality is a behavior . It is not a race, gender or nationality issue. People are already free to love whomever they want (or have sex with) and to marry them. So what's your point? It's useless
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil co on Nov 27, 2011 at 06:19 AM in reply to The truth
      So when did a sexual perverted orientation become a right?
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 09:20 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
        "Sexual perverted orientation" -Really? How is being gay defined as sexual perverted orientation? I've known I was "different" since I was little. I prayed to God all the time for Him to make me "normal." I begged him to not let me be attracted to the same sex. As I got older, I realized that being gay was okay. I realized I didn't need to live unhappy my whole life with someone I didn't really love. I dated the opposite sex, I tried to overcome my feelings for ones of my own sex. Gay people love just like straight people. We are no more sexually perverted than a straight person. I don't know what world you're living in. I would never "choose" to be gay. Nor would anyone choose to make their life harder and to have people discriminate against them. Being gay is NOT a choice. Unfortunetly some people just choose to marry the opposite sex because they are scared of showing the world who they really are. They are fearful of being rejected by the members of our society.I can only hope that one day we will all be able to openly love who we fall in love with.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 08:00 PM in reply to
          You are already free to love anyone that you choose but sodomy is a choice that you make.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011 at 10:42 AM in reply to
          I do not choose sodomy, considering the fact that I am a female. There are straight couples that choose sodomy. What's your point again?
      • reply
        by Perversion ? ? on Nov 28, 2011 at 04:37 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
        Are you talng about adultery ? You must use the bible for a standard ? I think changing GOD"S WORD is perversion ! Paul taught that GOD Himself would be the judge of this world and the Church was not to do so ! So what gives you the right ? Is it the "freedom of speech" that Americans so love to throw around? I assume you hold documents of men higher than the inspried Word Of God >> be careful and consider yourself before speaking so loosely about others ! By your own words you may be judged. The tongue is evil and will find you out .
  • by AngieB Location: craven county on Nov 26, 2011 at 08:03 AM
    If gays do't like non-gays trying to "force"their lifestyles on them, why are they trying to "force" themselves on the rest of the country? (ie)The National Organization for Marriage-they are hoping to FORCE the presidential contenders to "publicly" embrace the NH repeal.
  • by Anthony Location: Washington on Nov 26, 2011 at 07:25 AM
    I don't understand how people call themselve's christians yet they demand that the government control marriage for them. Don't you people understand if you let the government get their fingers in the matter than the sanctaty of marriage has already been violated. Mariage no longer has anything to do with God. It's just a legal binding contract under the state's authority over our lives. Guess what, Gays are going to do whatever ever they want anyway. No matter what the law says, they will live together, sleep together, and live a "married" life. You afraid of your kids seing a gay couple out in town? Guess what, its YOUR responsibility to instill christians values in them. Stop demanding that the state do it for you so you can sit on your butt and watch American Idol while the government raises your kids with my tax dollars.
  • by JCH Location: small town on Nov 26, 2011 at 07:14 AM
    Gay marriage shouldnt even be a topic for the presidential race! There are alot more important things to discuss then who a person chooses to be with! Gay/lesbians deserve the same respect as any straight man or woman! Let them be HAPPY with who THEY choose to be with!! The government has no buisness putting their two cents in on two people who love each other!
  • by christina on Nov 26, 2011 at 05:59 AM
    this should not be a state decision! people should be able to marry whoever they want. nobody else should be able to make the decision wether they can or cant. If you dont agree with gay marriage then ok YOU dont do it. this country has a lot of evolving to do..
    • reply
      by Angela on Nov 26, 2011 at 07:41 AM in reply to christina
      This country isn't evolving, it's revolving and for the worse in my opinion. We need to pull together before we become a third world and needy country.
    • reply
      by AngieB on Nov 26, 2011 at 07:59 AM in reply to christina
      This world is not evolving,it's revolving-and for the worse in my opinion.We need to pull together as a country before we become a third world country & needy.
  • by The Next Step on Nov 26, 2011 at 05:42 AM
    It's not just me that feels this way.
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