Evangelical leader shows how GOP can finesse gay marriage

Evangelical leader shows how GOP can finesse gay marriage

In 2008, both Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCainsupported defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In 2012, only Republican Mitt Romney supported traditional marriage, Obama having announced a change of heart six months before the election.

What about 2016? It’s impossible to imagine a Democratic candidate not supporting the redefinition of marriage. As for Republicans, it’s hard to see a gay-marriage-supporting candidate make it through the GOP primaries. But it is possible to imagine a Republican nominee who finds a softer way to oppose gay marriage without alienating either his party’s older voters, who continue to overwhelmingly disapprove, or the millions of Americans who now support same-sex unions?

While an overwhelming majority of Democrats (69 percent) approve of gay marriage, just 39 percent of Republicans do, according to a Pew survey released this month. But Pew found that 61 percent of Republicans aged 18-29 approve of gay marriage, and 43 percent of those aged 30-49 approve. How will Republican candidates talk to them? A hint came this week, not from a politician, but from a leading evangelical.

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