The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Brian Reisinger during a Newsweek Debate about the Respect For Marriage Act. You can listen to the podcast here:
I’m personally supportive of same-sex marriage and I think the policies that can help make this be settled law, as well as related legal questions be settled law, are a good thing. There’s been a major shift from the right on this, but the issue of how the shift occurred is twofold. There’s a variety of suburban voters who were more traditional at one time who now care more about economic issues and less about faith driven issues. There’s a lot of people of faith, either conservative or liberal, that might’ve traditionally been associated with being against this kind of thing that have shifted to a “live and let live” mentality. They will tell you, “I’m supportive of that, but I’m not really worried about it, people should love who they want to love”.
It’s an important thing to remember that there’s a lot of people who are either supportive of same-sex marriage, or indifferent to it. There is a way to persuade those people as long as they don’t feel that their religious liberties are under threat. If we can have a conversation that can bring that temperature down, we can continue to see the shift that we’ve seen. If we have a conversation that does not bring that heat down, you’re going to have a lot of people who might be OK with same sex marriage who will say, “what does that mean for what my church does, or does not, have to do?” That’s an important discussion to have as we try to balance those rights. I think that this bill took a step in that direction. I know that senators on both sides of the isle work very hard to try to have religious protections in that could still be something that could be passed. This is the beginning of some of that balance. Something that will really help is if everyday people, and those who control the levers of government, approach this conversation in a way for everybody to have a common space that allows for equality and safety.
Brian Reisinger is a writer and consultant who grew up on a farm in southern Wisconsin. He was previously an aide to Gov. Scott Walker, and Republicans in the U.S. Senate. Follow him on Twitter @BrianJReisinger.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.