Flake: ‘Inevitable’ that a GOP presidential candidate will support gay marriage

March 31, 2013

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said Sunday he believes it's "inevitable" that there will someday be a GOP presidential candidate who supports same-sex marriage, and that he could back such a candidate, even as he opposes gay marriage.

"Could you support a Republican presidential candidate someday who supported same-sex marriage?" NBC News "Meet The Press" guest host Chuck Todd asked Flake.

"Oh, I think that's inevitable. There will be one, and that I think he'll receive Republican support, or she will. So I think that yes, that the answer is yes," responded Flake.

Flake does not support same-sex marriage, and said he doesn't believe his view on the issue will change before he leaves the Senate.

"I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman," said Flake. "I still hold to the traditional definition of marriage."

The Republican Party's platform supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Republican strategist Ed Gillespie said on "Fox News Sunday" that he doesn't have a problem with the 2016 Republican Party platform saying marriage is between a man and a woman, but suggested that support for a constitutional amendment might wane.

"I don't think you'd ever see the Republican Party platform say we're in favor of same-sex marriage," said Gillespie, who was a top adviser on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign. But, he added, "There's been a little bit of a shift, I think, in terms of Republicans saying we should allow this to be worked out through the states, not imposed by courts, and not imposed federally."

Disagreements over same-sex marriage were in the spotlight last week when the Supreme Court heard arguments over California's ban on gay marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

"I would right now be opposed to gay marriage. Having said that, even if I supported it, I don't believe the Supreme Court should be making that decision," said Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) on ABC News's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos."

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D), who supports same-sex marriage, argued on the same program that it's not a bad thing that the high court has taken up the matter. "Thank God we didn't wait for the states for women's quality under the law. Thank God we didn't wait for the states on African Americans' equality under the law," said Booker.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan | March 31, 2013