The Hill: Gay Marriage Could Turn Conservatives Out on Election Day


Christian Heinze of The Hill:

In one of the most important years ever in the battle for gay rights, it would be remiss to overlook the electoral effects of the issue on the 2012 presidential race.

... a fast-food restaurant, Chick-fil-A, has become the latest cultural flashpoint in the battle after its president opposed, on biblical grounds, gay marriage earlier this month.

... For their parts, both Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney have remained silent on the Chick-fil-A fracas, but Romney’s allies and surrogates have fought back hard.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who’s said to be a front-runner for the vice-presidential nomination, unloaded over the weekend on the prospect of the restaurant being frozen out of expansion into Boston and Chicago.

... Clearly, some Republicans see political gain in using the chain as a symbol for upholding conservative values like traditional marriage.

But could the battle over gay marriage help Romney in November?

There’s a strain of working-class whites who live in the heartland and are known, affectionately, as “Reagan Democrats.” These voters tend to be more fiscally liberal but socially conservative, and theoretically, the battle over gay rights could push them into Romney’s camp.

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