Influential Bush Pollster Advises GOP To Change Tune On Gay Marriage

Jan van Lohuizen, an influential Republican adviser and George W. Bush’s pollster for his 2004 re-election, is recommending that powerful Republican politicians come around on gay marriage, now that public polling shows trends toward increasingly widening support.

In a memo circulated to top Republican operatives and obtained by Politico, Lohuizen writes:

“The increase in support is taking place among all partisan groups. While more Democrats support gay marriage than Republicans, support levels among Republicans are increasing over time.  The same is true of age: younger people support same sex marriage more often than older people, but the trends show that all age groups are rethinking their position. Polling conducted among Republicans show that majorities of Republicans and Republican leaning voters support extending basic legal protections to gays and lesbians.”

Lohuizen’s pragmatic recommendation:

“People who believe in equality under the law as a fundamental principle, as I do, will agree that this principle extends to gay and lesbian couples; gay and lesbian couples should not face discrimination and their relationship should be protected under the law.  People who disagree on the fundamental nature of marriage can agree, at the same time, that gays and lesbians should receive essential rights and protections such as hospital visitation, adoption rights, and health and death benefits.”

It’s not the “love is love” talk of gay activists and many Democrat politicians, but perhaps Republicans will take this guy more seriously. It’s hard to argue that any committed couple of over 20 years should have to suffer indignity by being denied visitation rights when their loved one is in the hospital, so hopefully Lohuizen’s practical call to action will work.

What do you think… Will this groundbreaking position infiltrate the public statements and, more important, the minds and hearts of Republican politicians? Or will they have the same knee-jerk reaction they’ve often had to gay marriage—and call Lohuizen a traitor to the cause?

UPDATE: We found that Lohuizen once told Business Insider about working with Mitt Romney when he wasn’t yet the presumptive GOP candidate for president… it wasn’t pretty:

I worked for the Romney campaign 4 years ago and it was one of the worst if not the worst campaign experiences I’ve had. I personally liked (and like) Romney, and he’s clearly very bright, but I came to the conclusion that to be a successful venture capitalist you mostly have to be a great pitchman, much more so than a great manager.

Photo via Mike Licht