WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL/AP) – For the second time in two days, the Supreme Court has struck at the heart of the Republican Party platform.
Yet the conservative outrage that followed the high court’s decision to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care law isn’t nearly as intense after Friday’s ruling to give same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states.
Instead there have been tepid responses from some Republicans who, it appears, would like the gay marriage debate to fade away. The sharp contrast highlights the challenges for a Republican Party searching for a winning playbook in 2016.
The GOP presidential rivals are ready to bet big that their opposition to Obama’s health care law will resonate with voters for a third consecutive election. But facing a seismic shift in public opinion on gay marriage, several of the party’s most ambitious appear ready to turn the page on a social issue the GOP used for a generation to motivate its most passionate voters to turn out and vote.
Candidates sound off
Several candidates in the 2016 presidential election have spoken out on Friday’s decision. Candidates focused on appealing to the far right have touted the Supreme Court’s decision as an attack on religious freedom.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee considers Friday’s ruling a call to arms for conservatives.
“I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat,” Huckabee said in a statement.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tweeted, “Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.”
While candidates who are playing their campaigns closer to the center focused their responses toward moving past a potential wedge issue.
“In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in a statement. “It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate.”
In a statement, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said: “I am a proud defender of traditional marriage and believe the people of each state should have the right to determine their marriage laws. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, and I will respect the Court’s decision.”