(CNN) - Republicans on Sunday described cracks appearing in their party's long-held opposition to same-sex marriage, an issue set to gain renewed attention when the Supreme Court hears arguments on its legality this week.
"There is no putting this genie back in the bottle. It is undeniable. The shift is here and we're not going back." Republican strategist and CNN contributor Ana Navarro told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on "State of the Union."
That shift was evident this week when Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, endorsed same-sex marriage. Portman, who was considered a top potential running mate for Mitt Romney in last year's election, said his decision was influenced by his son, who is gay.
"I've come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I've had for over 26 years," Portman told CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash.
Portman was the first Republican in the U.S. Senate to come out in support of same-sex marriage, but other Republicans aren't far behind, predicted veteran Republican strategist Karl Rove.
Asked if he could foresee a Republican presidential candidate in 2016 supporting same-sex marriage, Rove said Sunday, "I could." He was speaking on ABC's "This Week."
One of those potential candidates, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, reiterated his belief Sunday in "traditional marriage" between a man and a woman. But he said a federal ban like the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, isn't necessary, since states should be determining their own marriage laws.
"I don't want the government promoting something I don't believe in," he said on "Fox News Sunday." "But I also don't mind if the government tries to be neutral on the issue."
The high court will hear two appeals this week pertaining to same-sex marriage - the first involving DOMA, the federal law signed in 1996 that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
The second case involves California's Proposition 8, a 2008 referendum that abolished same-sex marriage after the state's highest court ruled it legal.
Polls have shown support for same-sex marriage steadily rising in the U.S., with gaps persisting between older and younger Americans. The shift has also played out among national figures who have changed their positions on the issue, including some notable Democrats: President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who announced for the first time last week that she supports same-sex marriage.
Republicans, Navarro argued Sunday, were moving in the same direction.
"I do feel an evolution and a shift, a small change, albeit, in the Republican Party," she said. "People who maybe a few years ago were saying, 'Hell, no, we won't go there,' are now saying it should be states' rights. They are talking about it in a different way. The people who are talking in a very strident way are now a minority."
Tony Perkins, the president of the socially conservative Family Research Council, argued the opposite Sunday, saying there was no indication Americans were moving toward supporting same-sex marriage.
"The reality is it's not inevitable," Perkins said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "And the American people, as they've had the opportunity to speak on this, have spoken overwhelmingly. Thirty states, eight additional states, have the definition of natural marriage into their statutes. So we're far from being at a point where America has embraced same-sex marriage."
@ P G Williams
You say how can the SCOTUS make something legal something god says is illegal. Firstly in the US the President and Congress pass laws that pass laws making thing legal or illegal, SCOTUS decides if they are constitutional , two totally different legal definitions.
Secondly if you don't want to live in a theocracy there are 2 two types of law , civil law that covers everyone , and religious law that people of faith can live by as long it doesn't conflict with civil law .
I assume from your belief in religious law that you wouldn't have a problem with a majority muslim country introducing sharia law into their legal system as the Koran is their equivalent of the Bible , or Israel making laws and legal decisions directly from the Torah
@P G WilliamsP G Williams
The U. S. A. is not a theocracy. The Constitution guarantees equal rights and protection to everyone, not just those who believe in your particular religious doctrines. You assume that a theocracy in this country would be based on your holy book. That is exactly why our founders denied the government the authority to establish a national religion. They were wise beyond their years and I am so grateful for that.
Let's argue over another social issue !! Republicans who come out to support gay rightsare ffinally on the right side of an issue. Government should respect the rights of adults to be in committed relationships with whomever they choose. Government is not telling churches they have to marry these couples. You would think a libertarian Luke Rand Paul would be a big supporter of this issue. What's up with that?
The people of each state do not have the authority to deny equal rights to anyone. Allowing consenting adults to marry does not in any way deny you the right to marry the person of your choice. No one is forced to marry anyone so your rights are not denied by providing equal rights to gays. Suppose voters in your state vote to deny women the right to vote. Don't you think the Constitution protects your right to vote in any state you choose to live? Do you think you should have to move if you want to vote? The right to marry a person you love is a constitutional right to equal protection.
Millions of people don't have the right to vote for one group of people to be denied constitutionally protected rights. For example, women won the right to vote because the Constitution provides equal protection for ALL people, not just the popular people, not just the wealthy, not just heterosexual, not just men, not just you, but ALL people. The right for consenting adults to marry is protected by the same Constitution that protects your rights and mine.
Do we have 1 America or do we have 50? States' rights may work for taxes and highway speed limits, but something as basic as marriage needs one uniform law and it shouldn't fall in favor of the new American Taliban.
The Republicans would probably rather have their heads blow up than grant Gays (or anybody else) equal rights. This will be a hard position for them- with more than 50% of the country moving into the pro-Gay-marriage camp. That said, more than 90% of Americans back background checks for firearms, and the GOP isn't backing away from that. They LIKE being wrong- a lot apparently.
As far as the Bible quoters- you know the Bible ranges over so many topics, I'll bet one could argue both sides of many arguments using the Bible. My advice-use the New Testament-it is a wee bit more modern and humanistic than the Taliban-like positions you can tout from the Old Testament.
Just a quick question... If the entire human race was gay, how long would it take for us to be extinct?
I'm very disappointed to see the popular leaders in America, who had clearly posed for being the supporters of same-sex marriage, for those leaders seemed to have told people that the advocates for a healthy marriage in the U.S. has not been their priority. Shame!
The conservative Family Research Council might need to take "Dick" Cheney's advice and follow ones heart .
It must be difficult to do research when one doesn't beleave in the science of evolution ..
Tony Perkins should pray for acceptance , compassion and understanding.
PG, Not everyone believes in God. Therefore your argument is null and VOID. People should be able to choose who they marry not based on whether they are of the opposite gender.
just sayin, Yes, California's highest court ruled prop 8 legal. Guess what!!! There is the SUPREME COURT! Who has authority to hear cases where laws passed in ALL 50 states and hear arguments whether or not if laws passed by the highest courts that are in each state are CONSTITUTIONAL or not. That is what makes our country so great! So, turn on C-SPAN, sit back, eat some pop corn and watch what unravels
And when the smoke has cleared, who will be the one's dancing in the street? I know it won't be me . . . :(