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Line graph showing support for marriage equality by age group.
Young people support marriage equality at far higher rates than other age groups. The Republican Party emphatically does not support marriage equality. So what happens with young Republicans? Well, they're not entirely in step with their generation: according to Pew, just 39 percent of Republicans aged 18 to 29 support "allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally," compared with 66 percent of people 18 to 29 overall and 80 percent of Democrats in that age group. But when you consider that overall, just 25 percent of Republicans share that view, you can see why this is an issue that makes for some hilariously evasive quotes from the kind of Republican "leaders" Politico talks to.
“Bottom line: Do we have more work to do with millennials on the issues of marriage? Absolutely,” [NOM spokesman Thomas] Peters told POLITICO. “Are pro-marriage voices among the youth shouted down? Absolutely. Do young people deserve to have a free, fair debate about marriage? Absolutely. Finally, since when do we make policy decisions based on what 18-year-olds think?”
Yeah, since when do we make policy decisions based on what people of voting age think? Oh, but don't forget that it's also a bullying issue, what with all the "shouting down" of bigots. Or maybe it's not that young Republicans are being bullied into their 40 percent support for marriage equality, it's that—hey, look over there:
Gay marriage, she told POLITICO, “is not as politically potent because you have younger people in a completely different scenario than five years ago,” [chairwoman of the Young Republican National Federation Lisa] Stickan said. “It’s post-college, paying off student loans, the ability to buy a house. Everyone is talking about the new normal being staying with parents longer because of the difficulty in terms of being able to find employment. And I think that’s something young people are concerned with.”
So back before Republican economic policies crashed the economy, young Republicans had the energy to actively oppose other people's relationships being legally recognized, but due to the student debt that Republican opposition to higher education funding has increased and the poor job prospects that Republican opposition to infrastructure investment and cuts to public jobs have exacerbated, they just can't be bothered?

Everyone knows that public opinion is moving quickly toward equality. Your hard-core NOM bigots need to turn that into a victim narrative—young bigots as victims of bullying, society as victim to the whims of idiot young people—while Republicans who aren't quite as dug in on this particular issue just need to change the subject. Because it sure would be uncomfortable to think too hard about how it is that an issue that Republicans rode to victory in 2004 is suddenly such a liability for them, wouldn't it?

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 08:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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