The past year saw great strides forward for supporters of gay rights, culminating in the repeal in December of the military's ban on openly gay and lesbian service members. Polls continue to show the American public is warming to gay rights, from overwhelmingly supporting the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell to rising support for legalized gay marriage at the federal level.
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[TPM SLIDESHOW: It's Over: Senate Repeals Don't Ask, Don't Tell]
It seems increasingly clear that embracing some changes in the way gays and lesbians interact with society will be necessary for political viability in the future. That is, unless you're running to be the next chair of the Republican National Committee. At their debate yesterday, the major candidates running to lead the RNC through the 2012 presidential race pledged to hold the line on gay rights, expressing concern over the repeal of DADT and vowing to keep the Republican Party in the sanctity of marriage business.
Though Republicans may be less willing overall to embrace gay rights than other groups, the party by no means speaks with one voice on the topic. The DADT repeal vote in the Congress carried a few Republican votes with it, and a handful of well-known Republicans have expressed their support for gay marriage as well.
But that's not how the candidates for RNC chair see it. At the debate yesterday, they spoke with basically one voice and said support for gay marriage does not have a place in the modern GOP.