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

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #gaymarriage #georgew.bush #janvanlohuizen stories and more


  • Cam

    But bigotry is the only thing they have to throw to the foaming at the mouth wing of the party base.

  • Steve

    I have noticed recently that many Republicans have shifted positions, from being staunchly anti-gay in every way, to supporting “equal protection” or “equal rights”. They still fail to make the connection that “marriage” is a “right”, of course. But it is a significant step.

  • Andy

    Cmon, man. Lets have a cite about that ‘now that public polling shows trends toward increasingly widening support’. Dude that is just in your dreams, you need to get out among the world these days.


    What a wonderful day for The Honourable President of the United States of America … Barrack Obama!
    The Republican Party; have now … officially — self-destructed — on the grounds of homophobia & religious corruption!
    Someone left the door of the asylum ajar — the religious extremists are loose & they are all in the Republican Party!
    Religion; is the biggest bully on the block!

  • Mikel D McGrew

    The GOP/tea party will not change its stance on marriage equality and other LGBT issues. They cannot have any chance of winning in those areas where fundamental Christianity prevails unless they excoriate gays and lesbians. They have used this as a wedge issue for so long that changing now would create chaos and cause them to lose power. They appeal to the worst instincts of voters and use fear to gain votes.

  • freddie

    It’s Democratic politicians, not “Democrat politicians.”
    Don’t do the GOP’s dirty work for them

  • Jonathonz

    Awesome! We need all the Republican allies we can get! It’s so powerful when those from a group that is usually against us join our side! They are true trailblazers in their own way and make it easier for others to follow.

  • Rosada Delano

    @Steve: Maybe they’re evolving too.

  • 1equalityUSA

    Evolution. Fundies don’t believe in evolution.

  • B

    No. 5 · Mikel D McGrew wrote, “The GOP/tea party will not change its stance on marriage equality and other LGBT issues.”

    When we reach the point where the GOP gets more votes by supporting LBGT issues than it gets by opposing LGBT issues, the GOP will support LBGT issues. This pollster is telling the GOP bigwigs that we are approaching the transition point and they better be ready. They’ll probably start by toning down the anti-gay rhetoric so that the public doesn’t see such a quick change that the term “flipflop” raises its ugly head. They may not do it for this election, but you may see them getting really quiet about the topic afterwards.

    Remember, the GOP really represents the richest 0.1% of the population, so they need to pander to some other groups to get enough votes. Their positions on LGBT issues are just marketing to them.

Comments are closed.