Republicans are hesitant to make an issue over President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage, both because they aren’t sure what position is the winner politically and, more importantly, because the party itself is divided over the issue. From The Washington Post:
Some top Republicans described a growing divide within the GOP, with most of the party’s elected leaders in step with the social conservative base by publicly opposing same-sex marriage but softening their tone to avoid alienating the moderate middle.
Some of Romney’s biggest financial backers — including Lewis M. Eisenberg, a former Republican National Committee finance chairman, and hedge fund managers Paul Singer and Daniel S. Loeb — have become public advocates for gay marriage, as have other Romney supporters, including former vice president Dick Cheney and former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
Behind the scenes, influential donors and top strategists are counseling Republican candidates to avoid hot rhetoric or stigmatizing gay people, fearing a potential backlash from voters, who, polling suggests, are fast growing more open to gay marriage.
Steve Schmidt, a strategist for John McCain’s 2008 campaign as well as Bush’s campaigns, said Obama’s announcement Wednesday drew attention to “deep division” within the GOP on the issue.
“This really spotlights a fissure in the Republican Party between the southern evangelical wing of the party — where they don’t mind government intrusion into the bedroom and into individuals’ private space — and the limited-government side of the party,” Schmidt said. “Looking back at this from 50 years in the future, people who are on the wrong side of this issue aren’t going to stand very well in history’s light.”