- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 30, 2015

Is it politically prudent for Republican presidential hopefuls to say they’d attend the wedding of a gay family member or friend? A new poll suggests this dynamic is now in play. A Reuters/Ipsos survey released Wednesday finds that 68 percent of Americans overall say they’d attend the same-sex wedding of a loved one; 80 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of independents and 56 percent of Republicans agree.

“The poll’s results suggests Republicans who stake out strong opposition to gay marriage could be on shaky political ground if their ultimate goal is to win the White House,” says Jeff Mason, White House correspondent for Reuters.

“Adamant opposition is popular with the party’s conservative wing, whose support is critical in the presidential nominating process. The question of whether or not a candidate would attend the gay wedding of a loved one has become an increasingly common litmus test for candidates on the issue,” he adds.

So far, and with varying degrees of enthusiasm, Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio plus Govs. Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and John Kasich say they’d attend the event, as did Rick Perry. Sen. Ted Cruz has allowed so far that he has never attended a gay wedding while Rick Santorum said he would not attend.

“Though a right-leaning, anti-marriage position may appeal to important conservative voters in states with early nominating contests such as Iowa and New Hampshire, that stand could hurt an eventual nominee in the general election, in which cross-party appeal and independents play a larger role,” Mr. Mason observes.

All of this is not going unnoticed by the competition.

“This is getting ridiculous. Here’s the real answer: if they had their way, none of these candidates would attend a same-sex wedding, because all of these candidates believe that same-sex marriages should be illegal,” declares Mo Elleithee, communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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