More Republicans Support Same-Sex Marriage Than You Think

Sen. Marco Rubio says he would attend a loved one’s same-sex wedding if invited.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

There may be no pizza at the reception, but according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll published Wednesday, a majority of American Republicans would attend a same-sex wedding for someone they love.

According to the poll, 56 percent of Republicans, if invited, would attend a same-sex ceremony of a loved one. The percentage compares to 80 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Independents that would attend. Although only 68 percent of Americans overall would attend same-sex nuptials, the findings within their own party suggest that GOP White House contenders who publicly oppose same-sex marriage might face political risk.

Of the current crop of presidential hopefuls, Sen. Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum have said they would not attend a gay wedding, while other contenders have expressed openness to the idea. Indeed, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker admitted he attended a wedding reception of a same-sex couple, although he still defines marriage between a man and a woman. Marco Rubio, the senator from Florida, said that he opposes same-sex marriage, but would attend a wedding if he were to be invited by a loved one. Meanwhile, other GOP figures, like Governor Rick Perry of Texas, has hedged on the question.

When asked by Hugh Hewitt, a conservative radio host, if he would attend a same-sex wedding, Perry said: “I probably would, but I think the real issue here is that’s the ‘gotcha’ question that the left tries to get out there.”

Although the same-sex wedding litmus test has been criticized by pundits on the left and right, it “forces candidates into a position of either callous honesty or brazen hypocrisy,” according to Outward’s Mark Joseph Stern:

What the gay wedding question really illustrates, then, is the totally untenability of the current moderate Republican line of same-sex marriage: We “respect” your marriages, even as we strive to invalidate them. That position is pure nonsense, a façade of tolerance barely concealing a core of cold-hearted animus. The gay wedding question might sound silly on the surface, but it efficiently cuts through the GOP’s posturing and dissembling and forces them to lay bare the illogic of their position. It’s a question we should ask, and keep asking, until we get an honest answer from every candidate. Only then will we know the answer to the much more important question that no Republican will answer honestly: Just how much do you hate gay people?

With the Supreme Court seemingly divided on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, the right to such unions has become a polarizing issue for the 2016 elections. These results suggest that the same-sex marriage question, especially when phrased so personally, could have a significant impact on a GOP nominee’s chances as the race continues.