Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is warning Republicans that if they expect to be relevant in the future and grow the party they will have to soften on social issues.
In an interview with vocativ.com, Paul said he had “sort of a Jeffersonian belief in unity, peace and commerce with all” and that the best way to build the GOP for the future is to include people with whom they don’t agree on every issue.
“I think that the Republican Party, in order to get bigger, will have to agree to disagree on social issues,” Paul advised. “The Republican Party is not going to give up on having quite a few people who do believe in traditional marriage. But the Republican Party also has to find a place for young people and others who don’t want to be festooned by those issues.”
Paul may be eying polls that say that fewer people every year stand against gay marriage, especially the young.
In fact, a recent poll of young Republicans found that 61 percent of them support gay marriage in principle. For Americans over all, support for gay marriage has cracked the 50 percent mark–with 54 percent in support–and that support is growing every year.
Vocativ asked Paul how his new claim squared with his past assertions that the gay marriage issue should be handled locally. Paul reiterated that local issues should be handled according to local mores, but also noted that marriage has legal and tax repercussions.
“But when it comes to taxes and benefits, the [federal] government out to take a neutral position–a way where marriage wouldn’t have an effect, positive or negative, on those things,” he said.