Score one for the LGBT rights movement: A solid majority of young Republicans now favor same-sex marriage.
According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of Republicans under 30 support marriage rights for gays and lesbians—more than double the percentage of party members over 50 who approve. While the Christian right wing has long made religious objections to homosexuality, younger conservatives aren't echoing those beliefs.
Perhaps Meghan McCain best epitomizes the trend of young Republicans falling in line with national attitudes—overall, 54 percent of Americans approve LGBT people's right to marry, an all-time high, according to the research center.
I love God, America and the 2nd Amendment. I just also happen to love and support the LGBT community.— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) December 21, 2013
Our sister network Pivot’s resident young Republican has long been a progressive voice in the GOP, and LGBT rights group GLAAD recently nominated her show, Raising McCain, for outstanding talk show episode for its 25th Annual Media Awards. She dedicated an episode of her show to LGBT issues, providing a platform for outspoken activists such as Wilson Cruz and Wade Davis.
Just last month, McCain went on a tweeting spree, begging Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a bill that would've allowed businesses to deny services to gays and lesbians.
I love my home state but I am nothing short of horrified by this "right to discriminate bill".— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) February 21, 2014
.@GovBrewer please do the right thing for ALL Arizonans and veto SB 1062 or be the governor remembered for legalizing discrimination.— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) February 22, 2014
McCain’s not the only one to deviate from her family’s prominent political ties. In 2009, Barbara Bush advocated gay marriage rights in the state of New York.
“I think the general opinion among conservative Americans has shifted,” says Rob Pedersen. He serves as chairman of the Westside Republicans, a Los Angeles–based organization that recruits young conservatives in high schools and colleges.
“I don’t know anyone who isn’t for full civil rights and protection for gay couples," Pedersen says. "This is magnified among young Republicans, who in general have more libertarian attitudes on most social issues.”
Still, he adds, “for many of us, the only issue remaining regarding recognition of gay marriage is balancing it with religious freedom. Marriage has always been a matter of individual state law and should remain so.”