I was thrilled to learn this morning that Karyn Polito, Charlie Baker’s running mate, has come out in favor of gay marriage.
(I learned it from today’s Globe story.)
Does Polito personally support gay marriage? I have no idea, and in Republican politics, that doesn’t matter. Really! I have never tried to convince a Republican that gay marriage is a good idea. What I do tell people here in MA is that I am OK with it, want nothing to do with stopping it, and that the political debate in this state is over. Really over. Over like the-right-of-women-to-vote over. It will never be overturned.
Was I angry at how it happened years ago? Yes – very! I was outraged that a document written by John Adams was supposedly the basis of men marrying each other. But I got over it. Over time, so did lots of people. A large, permanent, and growing majority of this state supports it – or is OK with it – and it is spreading across the country.
Politically, and especially among the young – a small but increasing number of younger voters will not vote for someone if they are against gay marriage no matter what else they believe. To placate social conservatives who insist on opposition, we are definitely losing the votes of young people and gays.
Oh – and if you think – like Michael Sullivan did – that you can use code words like “I support traditional marriage” – because gays and the media won’t understand what you mean – you’re freaking crazy. (Spare me the talk about his DOMA fig leaf.) If you want to run statewide in this state, you either come out and say you’re OK with gay marriage or you will be written about like you’re a bigot. That’s reality – even though it is absolutely possible to be against gay marriage and not be against gay people. I know many who are. (Though, of course, any gathering of people who are against gay marriage often ends up with anti-gay views being expressed as not everyone can pull this off.)
Does this mean we have to embrace the entire gay agenda? Like kicking the Catholic Church out of the abortion business? Taxpayer-funded sex changes for convicted murderers in prison? Broad transgender rights laws with lots of unintended consequences? No way. But acceptance of gay marriage is now required in our elected political leaders here.
The Republican party in this state cannot sacrifice any ability to win higher offices in order to satisfy a shrinking, aging group of people who would rather lose fighting gay marriage instead of increasing their chances of winning.
For my fellow social conservatives who are threatening to walk away from the Baker ticket over this – don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out. We probably can’t win without you as you’re fond of saying – and you may be right – but I am damned sure we can no longer win with you.