Money talks as Republican ground shifts on gay rights | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Money talks as Republican ground shifts on gay rights

Posted By on Sun, Jun 10, 2012 at 7:19 AM

The slow slog toward justice for sexual minorities continues, as Republicans join the ranks. Money helps, naturally.

Interesting report from Frank Bruni of the New York Times on Paul Singer, a hedge fund billionaire, Romney supporter and Super PAC moneybags, who led the fund-raising fight for same-sex marriage approval in New York and has given $10 million to gay rights initiatives.

Now, Singer says, he’s providing $1 million to start a new “super PAC” with several Republican compatriots. Named American Unity PAC, its sole mission will be to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage, in part by helping them to feel financially shielded from any blowback from well-funded groups that oppose it.

In an interview on Tuesday, he told me that he’s confident that in Congressional races, which would most likely be the super PAC’s initial focus, there are more than a few Republicans “who could be on the verge of support” or are “harboring and hiding their views.”

“And this kind of effort could be catalytic in generating some more movement,” he said.

He thinks this is good politics.

Our conversation also reflected a growing awareness among prominent Republicans that embracing marriage equality could broaden the party’s base and soften the party’s image in crucial ways. Many swing voters who find elements of Republicans’ limited-government message appealing and have doubts about Obama’s economic stewardship are nonetheless given serious pause by the party’s stances on abortion, birth control, immigration and homosexuality.

A softer side to Republicanism? In Arkansas? See the recent GOP primaries, where extremist candidates swept and milk of human kindness was in noticeably short supply. I'm guessing Arkansas Republicans won't be lining up for Singer's money any time soon. But one could hope.

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