After the election, Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s hard-charging campaign manager, expressed disappointment with the passage of Prop 8. Now he’s being more vociferous, making a conservative pitch for same-sex marriage.
Many studies have shown that married people are generally happier than unmarried people. Marriage gives greater purpose to life, and, to borrow from Pastor Warren, the more purpose driven your life is, the happier it is. Marriage does not or should not depend on transitory emotions. It is a partnership in all aspects of life that changes the way not just society, but the individual perceives him or herself, and gives greater incentive to an individual to live a good and virtuous life because the happiness, not just momentary pleasure, but the lasting happiness, of others depends on it. Marriage can be a profoundly gratifying state that strengthens the virtue of individuals and societies, and increases the measure and quality of the happiness we enjoy. It seems to me a terrible inequity that any person should be denied that responsibility, and the emotional enrichment it can provide. And I cannot in good conscience exclude anyone who is prepared for such a commitment from the prospect of such happiness.
But Ambinder thinks that Schmidt’s pitch to fellow Republicans is a longshot.
I don’t think the modern Republican Party, which relies heavily on the foundational force of Christian conservatism, can shift its position on gay rights without severe penalties. I know that there are many Republicans who support gay rights, and that most members of the Republican elite are pro-gay, and that the business wing of the party could care less about the issue. I know that suburbanites are turned off by conservative intolerance of homosexuality and gay rights. I know that younger Republicans tend to be pro-gay and are alienated from the rest of the party. But I also know that the possibility that the Republican coalition will find some way to organize itself without social conservatives is a ways of a way off. Schmidt’s concerns may be valid, but urging the GOP top adopt a tolerance platform WITHOUT figuring out how to declamp itself from the social conservative hook — that’s not terribly realistic.
Tagged: Steve Schmidt