Younger generations are becoming more progressive in their politics, even in younger Republicans. The Pew Research Center has determined that the majority of young Republicans actually favor gay marriage.
The poll, released on Monday, showed that 61 percent of Republicans ages 18-29 favor same-sex marriage. It appears that opinions on gay marriage aren’t so much placed in political ideology as they are placed in generational differences. Gay marriage still lacks favor among older Republicans with only 30 percent of those ages 50-64 years old supporting it, and only 22 percent of Republicans 65 years old and older supporting it.
According to Pew, “on this issue, young Republicans’ views are more in line with Democrats. And while support for gay marriage is higher among younger Democrats and Democratic leaners than older Democrats, even Democrats 65 and older favor same-sex marriage by a margin of two-to-one.”
When comparing the difference of opinion by age cohort among Republicans, there is a gradual increase of support for same-sex marriage as the groups decrease in age. This correlation indicates the expanding liberalism of America’s youth, regardless of party affiliation.
The percentage disparity between young Republicans and young Democrats is even smaller than the disparity between young Republicans and older ones. Seventy-seven percent of young Democrats support same-sex marriage, creating only a 16 point difference in opinion. The difference between young Republicans and older Republicans is 39 points.
With the growing support among young Republicans, why all the continued fuss about gays from the conservatives?
Last week, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference. Bachmann spoke in response to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of SB 1062, the bill the would have allowed business owners to refuse goods and services to anyone they suspected of being gay. Business owners would have been allowed to discriminate against gays citing offense to their religious beliefs.
The veto prompted Bachmann to say that gays have “bullied the American people” and have “intimidated politicians.” There has been a recent anti-gay surge among the Republicans as conservative lawmakers on the state-level have been pushing similar anti-gay laws. However, those blatant violations of civil rights were dressed up with titles to disguise the bills as “religious freedom bills.”
Bachmann indicts gays for being bullies, however, it’s the conservative lawmakers that are drafting Jim Crow-like, anti-gay laws that deny America’s LGBT community of basic rights. Older Republicans and those in office are claiming that gay rights offend and obstruct their religious freedom, but there is no same-sex marriage law that has a stitched-in provision which inhibits anyone from practicing their religion.
But if the Pew results are any indication, the current, conservative way of thinking regarding same-sex marriage will be on its way out as the voice of America’s younger generation gets louder. The current crop of conservative lawmakers are just relics of the Reagan years, and liberal-progressive ideologies are what’s on deck.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.