There’s a small but growing number who favor legalizing gay marriage, a hard-core faction that continues to denounce it, and a sizable group in between that seems to wish the issue would disappear.
At one end of the spectrum, at least eight GOP members of Congress have endorsed same-sex marriage, and two openly gay GOP candidates for the House hope to join them.
In Massachusetts, Richard Tisei has run ads featuring his husband. In California, Carl DeMaio ran an ad showing him and his long-term partner in San Diego’s gay-pride parade.
On the other flank, conservative Republicans in Congress have introduced legislation seeking to protect states from being forced to recognize same-sex marriages. One of those lawmakers is Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a potential presidential contender who drew applause at a recent conservative gathering by saying, “We stand for marriage,” and insisting that his party not shy away from “family values.”
Then there’s the large group in middle, not ready to embrace same-sex marriage but wary of antagonizing its supporters, including what polls suggest is a solid majority of Republicans under age 30.
Several GOP governors fit into this category, including Chris Christie of New Jersey, Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada. Each decided within the past year to back away from all-out legal fights against gay marriage.
Sandoval said Nevada’s gay-marriage ban “is no longer defensible in court.”