Ronan Farrow Daily   |  April 18, 2014

The GOP’s gay marriage sea change

Rek LeCounte, Richard Socarides and Krystal Ball discuss the shifting positions of many conservatives on gay marriage. Plus, the panel discusses Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid’s remarks on the militiamen who jumped to the aid of rancher Cliven Bundy.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> welcome back, young members of the republican party are launching a brand-new campaign hoping gop leaders hear this message, marriage equality matters to young voters. polls show 61% of republicans under 30 now support gay marriage . that's why a group called young conservatives for the freedom to marry announcing a campaign to soften language on same-sex marriage in the national gop platform. they are responding to a remarkable change at the state level springing up every from nevada to indiana to oregon. state republicans have changed their state party platforms removing divisive language about marriage equality . could this be a way to bring young voters back into the republican fold? joining me to look at this question is the young conservatives for freedom to marry , richard sock rides and former adviser to billion clinton on gay civil rights and chris tell ball. your group is lobbying for this platform. what's your strategy within the republican party ?

>> my strategy is basically to reach out to conservative voters and constituents and making sure they understand that we're not trying to alienate anyone and trying to push anything out of the big tent . we're making sure that we're pushing the republican values of liberty, personal freedom and family values in a way to especially young people into our party going forward. it's a change already done in some states as i'm sure you've noticed nevada --

>> let's look at it nevada . it comes on the heels of the convention in nevada where members decided to exclude divisive language in that state and along with nevada , indiana, california , oregon, a bunch of states where republicans are mods fiing party language. do you think the drum beat at this point has become too loud for the national party to ignore or is there a long way to go here?

>> it's going to be a struggle. it's never easy to achieve anything worth fighting for really. but i do think that those are important first steps that the party will take notice of and the more we fight for and make our case to the grass roots , the more change we'll see.

>> richard, let's look at the implications on the national political level. obviously there's some risk that you alienate the core voter base within the republican party and you've lived out advocacy and pros and cons for a party like the republican party right now. do you think it's more important to win over young voters or stay true to the base?

>> i think first of all this is a good development for the country because to the extent that rights become a nonpartisan issue and issue that everybody can rally around, it's good for the country and consistent with the constitution. i think the manyrepublicans, the moderate republicans see that this issue is an issue that will alienate voters. if they want to win national elections they have to stop sounding like crazy far right people.

>> seems like that's almost inevitable.

>> but there's a huge split in the republican party . the tea party republicans are still very much wedded to the socially conservative issues. we're about to see a big struggle in the republican party . it will be good for all of america if moderates win but i'm not sure they will.

>> one of the big shifts within the republican party has been individuals seeing people come out in their own families and people like rob portman and number of prominent politicians who are now living this out on a more personal level. you've dealt with this on the campaign trail and dealt with a lot of republican politicians who were ar dent opponents of marriage equality and learned that for instance, their own children were gay. which do you think is the trump card here? pragmatic numbers or these personal revelations that seem almost inhe ha almost inevitably driving people --

>> i was not pragmatic at all in 2010 . i came out full support of full rights for lgbt citizens because it's the right thing to do. increasingly you are seeing a few republican mainstream republican politicians like kasich come out in support of gay marriage and seeing for the first time, two openly gay republican candidates for congress, which is a new and exciting development. i do think that the change overall in the party is going to take a long time just a cause worth fighting for but change takes time in part because those who believe that marriage should only be between a man and woman, they think they are in the majority. so they don't understand that the country is changing. they think that a minority liberal position is being imposed on the country and polling bears this out. they think the anti- gay rights position is actually the popular majority position in the country. when you have that denial of reality in the changing dynamics it becomes hard to push that party to change.

>> there's actually a different understanding of the pragmatic stakes with the hard liners. we learned the lawyer who defe 8 at the supreme court has been planning his daughter's wedding to a woman, charles cooper , that lawyer said my views evolve on this issue the same way as other people's do and this is how i view down the road may not be -- the way i view this down the road may not be the way i view it now or how i viewed it ten years ago.

>> how much of the shift do you think is driven by these personal revelations as we just talked about and what do you think this signals for the california debate specifically?

>> i think it's a huge part of the shift. i think in my own life. i remember growing up and knew a lot of people not comfortable with gay people or anything related to the lgbt community . over time as you get to know -- start having gay friends and gay siblings and cousins and so on and so forth, a lot of people come around now it's not an issue anymore. in places like california and elsewhere, i think the more that you see people having friends who are gay, people having co-workers who are gay and realizing hey when they get narried, the world doesn't fall, the sort of argument from the collapse of civilization just kind of falls by the way side and people get less animated by opposing gay rights then later on actually moving towards support for the freedom to marry .

>> thank you for that. we'll be watching that movement closely. first, i do want to while we have the rest of the panel change gears and talk about the showdown in nevada . it seems like a pure piece of wild west , senate majority leader harry reid making the latest news with his comments about the armed backers of the nevada ranchers battling the u.s. government over grazing right, self-described militia members faced off with agents on saturday. the federal agents decided to back down. here's what senator reid said yesterday about all of it.

>> these people who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. they are nothing more than domestic terrorists. and i think that we are a country that people should

>> i think it's a fair assessment. you have militia members pointing guns at law enforcement and threatening an armed insur recollection. if that's not domestic terrorism , i'm not sure what is, i say kudos to harry reid for having the courage to say this. it is unbelievable there are those on the right that paint these folks, law breakers, these armed militia men taking up arms against their own government as patriots. it's unreal.

>> and it's interesting that even today though, i think she's absolutely right but there are a lot of people in the country who feel very strongly about these issues and we see them played out very dramatically in places like nevada . but it was amazing that what harry reid said, really taking a stand.

>> quite a culture clash . stay around, our panel is going to weigh in on today's heroes and zeros, two big cities confronting two important issues, uniting one and kind of grossing out the other. find