Who Is Making The Argument Matters

Partisan Cues

Ashley Koning and David Redlawsk studied whether the conservative case for marriage equality is effective. They “find no evidence that the conservative advocacy frames alone influence Republican support at the mass level.” But:

When we show that [former RNC Chairman Ken] Mehlman supports same-sex marriage and does so for reasons consistent with his partisanship and ideology, it appears to give Republicans “permission” to be more inclined to do the same – or to at least considerably reduce their opposition in exchange for increased indecision. This result suggests that as more Republican elites “come out” in support for the issue, their personal endorsements of the “conservative case” for same-sex marriage may have the potential to change the game among Republicans, who are otherwise lagging greatly as overall attitudes rapidly move in a more supportive direction. As Mehlman states, he fights for same-sex marriage “because [he is] a conservativ[e], not in spite of it.” And that’s likely to be the key to attitude change among conservatives as Mehlman and others lead by example to show that the values underlying same-sex marriage are ones that their fellow partisans already have.