Romney strategist: Position on gay rights contributed to Election Day defeat

Romney strategist: Position on gay rights contributed to Election Day defeat

A chief strategist for Mitt Romney’s failed presidential campaign said Monday that the Republican candidate’s loss was all about policy, and that evolution on policy positions, such as same-sex marriage, is necessary to revive the GOP.

Stuart Stevens (left) with Mitt Romney.
File photo by Charles Dharapak, AP

“I don’t think it’s very controversial to suggest that a candidate who favors gay marriage and free contraception might have more appeal to a younger demographic,” strategist Stuart Stevens wrote Monday in The Washington Post.

“Does anyone want to argue that free contraception is seen as a more pressing issue to your average 21-year-old than to a 55-year-old voter, or that there are more gay rights organizations on college campuses than in VFW halls?”

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Stevens wrote that there’s much “desire to blame Republicans’ electoral difficulties and the Romney campaign’s loss on technological failings. I wish this were the problem, because it would be relatively easy to fix. But it’s not.”

Stevens said he believes Republicans will have to rethink key positions favored by younger voters to recapture White House.

A recent poll released by the Respect for Marriage Coalition found that 59 percent of respondents indicated that denying gays a lesbians the right to marry is considered discrimination.

Last week, Jon Huntsman, a former GOP presidential contender and Utah governor, urged the Republican party to embrace marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and warned that failure to do so will continue to result in the electorate becoming further disenchanted with the Republican party.

“Americans will not coalesce around Republicans’ free market ideas if we stand against their friends, family, and individual liberty,” Huntsman wrote.

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