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Liz Cheney’s view of gay marriage makes her a normal Republican

(Cliff Owen/AP)
(Cliff Owen/AP)

Amidst the Cheney family spat about Liz Cheney’s views on same-sex marriage, one piece of context deserves mention.  Whether she came to it recently or not, Liz Cheney’s opposition to same-sex marriage is entirely in line with what her party thinks.  It is true that support for same-sex marriage is increasing, even among Republicans. However, it is increasing much more slowly among Republicans — a large majority of whom still oppose it.  Here’s a graph from the Pew Center:


This too will likely change, of course, given the generational differences on this issue.  And overall, public support for gay marriage is taking a path similar to interracial marriage, which suggests that support will continue to increase.

Nevertheless, this likely future shouldn’t obscure the present.  Although there’s this notion that politicians everywhere are “falling all over themselves” to support same-sex marriage,  would same-sex marriage really win the support of a simple majority of Republicans in Congress?  I don’t think so.  It certainly doesn’t among Republican voters.

The Cheney family is giving us a good soap opera.  But underlying this is a fairly boring fact: Liz Cheney is simply behaving like most other Republicans.  Same-sex marriage is a long way from becoming a fully bipartisan issue.

John Sides is an Associate Professor of Political Science at George Washington University. He specializes in public opinion, voting, and American elections.



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Henry Farrell · November 18, 2013

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