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by Frank Schubert

August 15th, 2016 From: Public Discourse; a publication of The Witherspoon Institute.

Rank and file Republican activists and voters revere marriage and will act to defend it. GOP candidates should understand that failing to defend marriage can come at a very high price.

A year after the US Supreme Court’s narrow 5-4 ruling redefining marriage, many of the elite in the Republican Party are anxious to declare “the marriage issue” settled. It’s a common refrain from high-ranking Republicans: “the Supreme Court has spoken,” and the party should move on to other issues. The trouble for the echo chamber of corporate lobbyists, paid political consultants, wealthy donors, and media personalities who constantly push this narrative is that the actual Republican Party—the tens of millions of Americans who vote in elections—do not buy the refrain, and they regularly hold accountable those who do.

Anne Zerr is the latest example. A state house member in Missouri, Zerr was one of three Republicans who refused to support SJR 39, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would protect supporters of marriage from being punished by government for refusing to be part of same-sex “marriage.” SJR 39 is essentially the Missouri version of the First Amendment Defense Act pending in Congress. Grassroots activists had pushed the measure through the state senate to protect the bakers, florists, photographers, innkeepers, and others who have been targeted in other states with lawsuits, fines, and financial and reputational ruin from facing a similar fate in Missouri. SJR 39 would have let voters decide the issue. But when LGBT activists and their allies in corporate America expressed their opposition, Zerr caved and helped kill the proposal.

Unfortunately for Anne Zerr, she then faced voters in a Republican primary race for an open state Senate seat. Social conservatives saw an opportunity to send a message to the echo chamber by opposing her. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) funded mailers and phone calls targeting Zerr for her refusal to allow voters to protect supporters of marriage. And ordinary voters responded. NOM endorsed her main opponent, conservative businessman and devout Catholic Bill Eigel, who supported SJR 39. On August 2nd, Eigel defeated Zerr in the Republican primary.

Zerr is not the first Republican to pay with her career for following the urgings of the elite to abandon marriage. She is just the latest.  Read the rest of this article at Public Discourse

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