Social Conservatives Threaten To Leave GOP If They Dare Embrace Marriage Equality

Reince Priebus

A group of social conservatives have threatened to pull support from the GOP if they embrace marriage equality.

Whether or not the GOP will accept marriage equality in light of shifting public opinion and major criticism of the party on the issue has been a sticky subject in recent weeks. The general feeling is that GOP leadership is at least considering it, since a handful of Republicans have come out in support of marriage equality, while others, like Rick Santorum, have gone out of their way to brand the potential move “party suicide.”

The latest volley was thrown at Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus by social conservatives (primarily religious groups) who threatened to pull support from the party if they make an about-face on the issue.

In a letter addressed to Priebus obtained by NBC News, the leaders of 13 Christian conservative groups advised the party to hold firm on an anti-gay marriage stance.

“We respectfully warn GOP Leadership that an abandonment of its principles will necessarily result in the abandonment of our constituents to their support,” they wrote. “We could not change that even if we wished to.”

The letter continues, arguing that religious groups are the GOP’s only hope at maintaining influence, and that the party can make moderate platform adjustments without compromising their principles.

“It is the faith-based community which offers Republicans their best hope of expanding their support in these groups. Going ‘vanilla’ or even changing long held positions would quickly end this opportunity,” the letter reads.

GOP leaders have convened in Los Angeles to discuss the future of the party, and potentially determine a new direction. They may vote on an existing affirmation against marriage equality, obtained by Yahoo News.

It reads:

“[T]he Republican National Committee affirms its support for marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and as the optimum environment in which to raise healthy children for the future of America; and be it further resolved, the Republican National Committee implores the U. S. Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.”

You can read the entire open letter from social conservatives to Reince Priebus here. What do you think? Can the GOP embrace marriage equality without violating their base or their principles?

[Image via: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons]