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06/27/2013

Why Sen. Mark Pryor's opposition to marriage equality is politically ridiculous

by Jeremy Hooper

Sen. Mark Pryor is one of only three Senate Democrats who has failed to stand in support of marriage equality (Sen. Manchin hasn't come out publicly; Sen. Landrieu is supportive personally but not as matter of policy). Presumably, the Arkansas moderate thinks this earns him some good will with those who use marriage equality as a liability at the polls.

But listen to the following exchange. It comes from yesterday's edition of Tony Perkins' radio show, which the FRC president dedicated, in full, to the subject of marriage:


[SOURCE: Washington Watch w/ Tony Perkins; 6/26/13]

The caller is sore at Sen. Pryor for simply voting to confirm Justices Sotomayor and Kagan (something even Sen. Lindsey Graham did). That alone is considered an act against the conservative position on marriage. This Arkansas voter says of the moderate U.S. Senator: "he should pay for it."

And what does Perkins do? He fans the flames. The conservative thought leader (and vote-driver) proceeds to remind this Land of Opportunity voter that Sen. Pryor is up for re-election, and Tony uses this, his special program on marriage, to make special note of how "wrong" the Democrat has been "on a number of issues." Because that's in Tony's interest, politically. Why would he waste an opportunity to get a vote for his side? I respect that, as far as it goes.

So this is the point where someone like me, one of the Family Research Council's most outspoken critics, would normally step up, do some opposition research, and find ways to defend the Senator. But you know what? I'm not really feeling like doing that. I mean, why would I? Sen. Mark Pryor has publicly come out against my marriage, so to be perfectly frank, I'm quite open to the possibility of primary-ing and replacing him. But even if that doesn't happen, I'm not really in the mood to waste my capital on his election. Sorry.

There are many would-be enthusiasts just like me whose political muscle will lie in atrophy because of the Senator's refusal to join his other colleagues on the right side of history. Many of them vote in Arkansas elections.

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