Continued from page 1

However, social conservative leaders disagreed about the significance of the party’s failure to block gay marriage in the District.

William Donohue, the president of the New-York based Catholic League, questioned the party’s commitment to a traditional marriage agenda. “They have an inarticulateness about homosexuality that they don’t have on economic issues,” Mr. Donohue said. “They can talk on and on about the free market, but when it comes to gays, they’re jittery.”

Mr. Brown and Mr. McClusky said that homosexual interest groups and congressional Democratic leaders were bigger concerns of theirs.

Like them, Mr. Chaffetz believes that the District law might be overturned some day, as California’s was in 2008. “It’s still not over. We’ll press on … and if [Republicans] get a majority in the House this fall, I expect we’ll get a vote.”