There’s a very strong chance that the 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee will be a supporter of same-sex marriage.
If there’s one thing that the conclusion to this month’s Constitutional Convention has confirmed, it’s that opponents of same-sex marriage have little, if any, political clout in Massachusetts. Those who felt that the people should vote on the definition of marriage don’t have anywhere near the sort of pull those who felt that a marriage vote was wrongheaded possess.
It’s hard to fathom a GOP opponent of same-sex marriage gaining any sort of traction in 2010. A same-sex marriage foe would, in all likelihood, appeal mainly to social conservatives—and as Deval Patrick’s election last fall proved, social conservatism is all but dead in this state.
I imagine that the nomination of a pro-same-sex-marriage Republican will cause some degree of consternation among those troubled by a perceived dilution of the differences between Republicans and Democrats in Massachusetts. However, one cannot deny the reality that Patrick’s election and the conclusion of the ConCon represent proof that Tom Finneran/Ed King social conservatism in the Bay State has been weakened to the point of invisibility. (If social conservatism were a still-vibrant force in Bay State politics, social liberal Patrick would have lost by 21 points.)
Because of the political changes that have taken place over the past few years, Massachusetts Republicans have no choice but to run the “fiscally conservative/socially libertarian” playbook. Same-sex marriage will become a “moot” Bay State political issue, like abortion. Will this help the GOP get votes in a significant proportion?