The next chairman of the Georgia Republican Party is unlikely to support the freedom to marry for gays and lesbians or likewise encourage LGBT persons to seek public office, according to a survey of the candidates by the Georgia Christian Coalition.
In a lengthy written questionnaire circulated to GOP activists ahead of the Saturday vote for state chairman, candidates BJ Van Gundy and Seth Harp said they would oppose legislation that would extend the franchise of marriage to persons of the same gender.
A third, Seth Johnson, declined to state his position on the grounds it was “secondary to the grassroots,” while the fourth, John Padgett, did not participate in the survey.
Georgia popularly adopted a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004, but voter demographics and issue sentiment have shifted in the nine years since.
A national survey by the Pew Research Center in March revealed that nearly 28 percent of voters had changed their minds on gay marriage, also finding many of those voters who came of age in the years since the referendum was greenlighted are fundamentally opposed to a ban.
According to the poll, support for the freedom to marry among Millennials, those young adults born during the years 1981 and 2000, registers at 70 percent.
Of the three men who did complete the questionnaire, all said they would not “encourage candidates who are openly GLBT to run as a Republican.” (Whereas Van Gundy and Harp provided only one-word answers to the question, Johnson qualified his negative response, saying he would “not encourage anyone to run as a Republican based on their sexual orientation, but based on their policies and platform.”)
The survey also measured the candidates’ positions on affirmative action, a recently-approved lobbyist gift cap for legislators, and taxes.