The Supreme Court is in the midst of constructing their opinions on one of the most important issues of the past two decades: same-sex marriage. The issue was a key factor in the past election as the proponents for gay marriage became the majority in America. A group of millennial Republicans in favor of gay marriage has started to form in the party and now represents almost half of the GOP's youngest generation.
The RNC is aware that gay marriage has become a hot topic among younger voters, with poll numbers showing 73% of voters aged 30 or younger are now in favor of federal legalization. In a report published by the RNC, they show just how vital social issues like gay marriage can make or break a candidate:
"As one young man in our Columbus focus group put it, 'In this last election, everyone said that the biggest issue was the economy. I think to a lot of people that definitely was the case, but that comes to things we talked about earlier, where you can agree with so much of their things, but if there is just that one thing — a lot of those social issues that you can't get behind — and see, everything is in two buckets, and if one of those things in those buckets is something you just can’t agree with then [it doesn’t] matter what else is there, economic or otherwise.'"
The RNC report later determined that among half of their younger voters, they would "probably or definitely not vote for a candidate with whom they disagreed on same-sex marriage, even if they were in agreement on taxes, defense, immigration, and spending."
The difficulty in issues like these is to appease the large younger crowd while still catering to an older audience. Religion plays a huge role in the issue of gay marriage, as few oppositional arguments have been made without referencing a religion. Therefore, the anti-gay members of the GOP have to choose their battles wisely. If they continue to further an anti-gay agenda to retain their religious members, they may alienate the entire next generation of voters.
In the past two months, three U.S. states and three countries have legalized gay marriage. According to an article by Mark Sherman, this could have an effect on Justice Kennedy, who tends to be a swing voter in issues like these. "In earlier cases on gay rights and the death penalty, Kennedy has cited the importance of changing practices, both nationally and around the world”"
It's clear how divided the nation is on the issue of same-sex marriage, but it's unclear how the GOP will respond to a growing number of young voters who support it. Presently, the RNC has only affirmed its platform's stance against gay marriage.