March 30th, 2013
01:39 PM ET
9 years ago

As Supreme Court hears same-sex marriage arguments, some debate GOP stance

(CNN) - As the justices of the Supreme Court now contemplate two same-sex marriage cases, and national polls show growing support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry, a debate has broken out over whether Republican presidential candidates in 2016 will embrace the idea.

Karl Rove, the former White House political adviser in the George W. Bush administration, said this week he could envision the 2016 GOP nominee - whoever it is - backing same-sex marriage.

However, Jim Messina, the manager of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, disagreed.

"Given who their primary electorate is and given the fact that the ABC/Washington Post poll showed that 60% of older Republican primary voters still oppose it, I think you will see people talk less about it,” he told Bloomberg Businessweek. “But I don’t think they’re showing any signs of moderating.”

While the poll Messina referenced indicated 68% of Republicans over age 65 oppose same-sex marriage, it also showed younger Republicans between 18 and 49 were more supportive. In that age group, 52% said same-sex marriage should be legal.

In what could be the biggest case of their lives, rivals in the disputed 2000 election teamed up to take the same-sex marriage fight to the Supreme Court. CNN’s Gloria Borger got exclusive access to David Boies and Ted Olson as they prepared for the case in “The Marriage Warriors: Showdown at the Supreme Court,” to be aired Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on CNN.

Some Republicans, including Ken Mehlman, who ran Bush's 2004 re-election effort, are pushing the party to moderate their message on this issue. Mehlman is openly gay and has helped raise funds to support the effort to overturn California's Proposition 8, the 2008 voter initiative banning same-sex marriage in that state.

One of the cases heard by the Supreme Court this week centered on whether Prop 8 is constitutional.

The drive to overturn Prop 8 brought together a unique legal alliance four years ago: conservative Ted Olson and liberal David Boies. Olson and Boies, who found themselves on opposite sides in the legal fight over the 2000 presidential election, told CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger they came together on this issue because of its importance, and to symbolize this is not a partisan issue.

Borger talked to Olson and Boies for a CNN special, "The Marriage Warriors: Showdown at the Supreme Court." The show includes exclusive access to some of their preparations for the Supreme Court arguments.

“I think that in the beginning there was a curiosity factor. The odd couple getting together. Which I think served us well, because this is an issue where if you pay attention to the issue, if you think about the issue, you can only come out one way. The challenge is to get people to think about the issue," Boies said.

"I think that one of the things that our kind of novelty, odd couple status did was that it attracted people to listen to us in the first place and again to think of this issue in ways that they haven’t thought about it before," Boies added.

Some conservative critics of Olson, however, have said they think he abandoned his conservative principles when he took the case, which he strongly disputes.

The CNN special airs Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET and 10:30 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Same-sex marriage
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. P G Williams

    If the country refuses to obey their Creator's Orders (Genesis 2: 24), America will become one of the nations spoken of
    in Deuteronomy 29: 27 (Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim verse 23).

    March 30, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  2. John the Historian

    Republicans are on the wrong side of history. All Gays want is a family life like everyone else withe the same rights, responsibilities and benefits. Nothing radical about this. Gay marriage does not affect any straight marriage. I guess the Republicans want the family values of Rush and Newt or maybe Queen Victoria who married her cousin.

    March 30, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. rs

    As long as the GOP views social phenomena and their position on that as being a vote getter or a vote loser, they are doomed to get it wrong. They should believe in civil rights because that is what America is about. They should believe in fairness, the should believe in small government like they claim (get the hell out of people's bedrooms and their reproductive systems).
    Until they do so, for all the right reasons, and apply their beliefs in a holistic and consistent fashion, they are simply re-branding the disaster they already are.

    March 30, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. lottie

    the GOP has no stance. Bunch of silly old men who hide in bathrooms and tap their feet. They are against everything that over 47% of the people are for. Love the way they refer to people as wet backs then recite poetry written by a commie to tell the Latinos how much they love them. they are bigots and any comments made by them will be hollow. They holler about peoples rights only when it helps their cause . The rest of the time we can all go get screwed.

    March 30, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. GaryOwen27

    The Red Neck Right has been emasculated on every soscal issue to pun intended.

    March 30, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |