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GOP Pollster Tells Republicans to Evolve on Gay Rights

GOP Pollster Tells Republicans to Evolve on Gay Rights


A former pollster for George W. Bush has called on the Republicans to evolve on gay rights, saying that freedom must mean freedom for everyone.

The comment was made by Jan van Lohuizen in a strategy memo released late last week that calls on Republicans to recognize the fundamental shift America has gone through on supporting LGBT equality and to accept that the GOP cannot pick and choose on issues like equal rights.

The memo says, “As people who promote personal responsibility, family values, commitment and stability, and emphasize freedom and limited government we have to recognize that freedom means freedom for everyone. This includes the freedom to decide how you live and to enter into relationships of your choosing, the freedom to live without excessive interference of the regulatory force of government.”

Critically, Lohuizen highlights that the recognition of LGBT equality is not about “extra protections or privileges,” but a matter of ensuring equal treatment under the law, which he goes on to say should be at the very heart of Republican politics.

This comes as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has sort to further amp up his anti-gay credentials, appearing to withdraw his support for same-sex couples adopting and rallying against President Obama’s marriage equality advocacy.

This also happens to occur as the Republican controlled House faces growing anger over its continual attempts to push through legislation to assert religious privilege and condemn gay people in certain spheres, including the military, and shore up the Defense of Marriage Act, rather than focus on what House Speaker Boehner always contended would be the Republicans’ main objective: job creation.

You can read Lohuizen’s full May 11 memo below:


In view of this week’s news on the same sex marriage issue, here is a summary of recent survey findings on same sex marriage:

1. Support for same sex marriage has been growing and in the last few years support has grown at an accelerated rate with no sign of slowing down. A review of public polling shows that up to 2009 support for gay marriage increased at a rate of 1% a year. Starting in 2010 the change in the level of support accelerated to 5% a year. The most recent public polling shows supporters of gay marriage outnumber opponents by a margin of roughly 10% (for instance: NBC / WSJ poll in February / March: support 49%, oppose 40%).

2. The increase in support is taking place among all partisan groups. While more Democrats support gay marriage than Republicans, support levels among Republicans are increasing over time. The same is true of age: younger people support same sex marriage more often than older people, but the trends show that all age groups are rethinking their position.

3. Polling conducted among Republicans show that majorities of Republicans and Republican leaning voters support extending basic legal protections to gays and lesbians. These include majority Republican support for:

a. Protecting gays and lesbians against being fired for reasons of sexual orientation

b. Protections against bullying and harassmentc. Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

d. Right to visit partners in hospitalse. Protecting partners against loss of home in case of severe medical emergencies or death

f. Legal protection in some form for gay couples whether it be same sex marriage or domestic partnership (only 29% of Republicans oppose legal recognition in any form).

Recommendation: A statement reflecting recent developments on this issue along the following lines:

“People who believe in equality under the law as a fundamental principle, as I do, will agree that this principle extends to gay and lesbian couples; gay and lesbian couples should not face discrimination and their relationship should be protected under the law. People who disagree on the fundamental nature of marriage can agree, at the same time, that gays and lesbians should receive essential rights and protections such as hospital visitation, adoption rights, and health and death benefits.”

Other thoughts / Q&A: Follow up to questions about affirmative action:

“This is not about giving anyone extra protections or privileges, this is about making sure that everyone – regardless of sexual orientation – is provided the same protections against discrimination that you and I enjoy.”

Why public attitudes might be changing:
“As more people have become aware of friends and family members who are gay, attitudes have begun to shift at an accelerated pace. This is not about a generational shift in attitudes, this is about people changing their thinking as they recognize their friends and family members who are gay or lesbian.”

Conservative fundamentals:
“As people who promote personal responsibility, family values, commitment and stability, and emphasize freedom and limited government we have to recognize that freedom means freedom for everyone. This includes the freedom to decide how you live and to enter into relationships of your choosing, the freedom to live without excessive interference of the regulatory force of government.


Related Reading:

The New Yorker Celebrates Obama’s Gay Marriage Evolution

House GOP Advances Religious Right to Condemn Gay Soldiers

US House Votes to Tie Obama’s Hands on DOMA

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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with t anks to andydr.

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1:21AM PDT on May 21, 2012

Republicans the party of the southern baptists / evangelicals whose worst nighmare has come true - a black president..

And as usual, racism is just another part of the repub platform of hate, along with homophobia.

BTW these repub cater to people like Huckabee, who at a conference in Tn called "renewing God in America" said "we've got to get them to pray - at the point of a gun if necessary."

the same people who dare to talk about protecting life.

the same people who talk about freedom

And huckabees comment is so close to the old "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun"

Courtesy in the 1970s of Mao Tse Tsung

Repubs - who still believe that if you tell a lie often enough and outrageous enough it will be seen as the truth.

6:49PM PDT on May 18, 2012

All the gay rights advocates, who live in Massachusetts, should write letters to thier state represenatives and state senators to tell them to legalize prostitution in that state. All the Republicans, who live in Massachusetts, should write letters to thier state represenatives and state senators to tell tham to legalize prostitution in that state. Massachusetts legalized same sex marrige. Massachusetts should legalize prostitution.

3:25PM PDT on May 15, 2012

In a couple of decades, the GOP will be pretending it always supported gay rights and equality. The GOP message of lack of government interference into personal choices is a great one. But they do not follow their own message and push for far, far more government interference than Democrats do. They also call for small government, but Republican presidents always increase the size of government anyway. While at least Democrats sometimes reduce the deficit or balance the budget. The issue is just, will people remember that the GOP was regularly on the wrong side of issues once it is clear what the right side is. The Democrats figured it out much faster, because the Democrats tend to try to push for equality issues.

2:40PM PDT on May 15, 2012

Right-wingers are slipping while trying to modernise their position on gays. At least they realise their position has to evolve, or else lose even more credibility.
Vote Obama!

2:15PM PDT on May 15, 2012

The problem with the Republican mind-set is that they truly believe THEIRS is the ONLY point of view and everyone else is wrong. If anyone comments against them, they scream "Discrimination!" and then go out and then go out and discriminate against others, insisting that it's the "right" thing to do.
If all the LGBTQ did the following, perhaps it would have an impact:
Don't join the armed forces because they don't want you.
Don't work for companies that discriminate against LGBTQ.
Don't go to schools that don't have anti-bullying policies for LGBTQ students.
and so forth...

1:10PM PDT on May 15, 2012

Thank you for the article...

12:29PM PDT on May 15, 2012

Will the Republicans listen or continue on their path to destruction? Thank you, Lohuizen, for understanding the American ideal of equal treatment under the law.

12:17PM PDT on May 15, 2012

Is this the reason he's a *former* pollster?

Glad to see a Republican pollster come to his senses on the issue of LGBT rights. Sadly, the party he once represented probably isn't going to see it that way. And it will be much to their detriment that they keep screaming about the sanctity of marriage when what really destroys the "sanctity of marriage" is people who have multiple divorces or whirlwind marriages, not allowing same-sex couples to marry.

12:07PM PDT on May 15, 2012

Creationism isn't working. Evolve or Die!

11:20AM PDT on May 15, 2012

This is amazing, no nonesense, plain spoken truth.If there were more Republicans like hime than the Bubke-thumping homophobic kind, the States would have a real Presidential race on their hands.

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