Republican Governor Scott Walker (WI) — a likely GOP candidate for president in 2016 — admitted on Sunday that young conservatives support marriage equality for gays and lesbians, suggesting that the Republican party cannot sustain its opposition to same-sex marriage into the future.
Responding to Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-OH) embrace of equal marriage rights during an appearance on Meet The Press, Walker said that the issue of marriage equality did not animate his governor’s race, but admitted to host David Gregory that the next generation of Republicans will expect the party to join the growing popular consensus in favor of full marriage rights and will not be interested in pursuing campaigns against gay people:
GREGORY: Are younger conservatives more apt to see marriage equality as something that is, you know, what they believe, that is basic rather than as a disqualifying issue?
WALKER: I think there’s no doubt about that. But I think that’s all the more reason, when I talk about things, I talk about the economic and fiscal crises in our state and in our country, that’s what people want to resonate about. They don’t want to get focused on those issues.
Walker also questioned why the government sanctions marriage in the first place, noting, “an alternative [would be] to say not have the government sanction it, period, and leave that up to the churches and the synagogues.”
New research released earlier this month found that “while 53 percent of eligible voters support marriage equality, 83 percent believe same-sex marriage will be legal nationwide within five to 10 years.” A majority of Republicans under the age of 30 also said that they “support marriage equality at the state level.”