The GOP hopefuls all agree on one thing:
There is a striking unanimity among the candidates who are running for the party’s presidential nomination in 2016: Not one supports allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. And after the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to marriage for all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, the degree of difference among the candidates was largely a matter of how aggressively they would continue to resist.
Here's the breakdown:
Walker, Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and other candidates on the party's right are all seeking to consolidate support among conservative voters. That gives them a strong incentive to push issues such as same-sex marriage to the forefront, and they moved to do so in the hours after the ruling.
While Walker backed amending the Constitution to overturn the court's decision, others pledged support for individuals — business owners, for example — who feel their religious beliefs would be violated if they were to participate in a same-sex wedding. Huckabee warned against "surrender" to the court's decree, but did not say what form of resistance he advocated.
By contrast, presidential hopefuls including Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who seek support from more moderate Republicans, sought to downplay the issue.
"This is something that should be decided by the people of each state and not imposed upon them by a group of lawyers sitting in black robes at the U.S. Supreme Court," Christie said. "That being said, those five lawyers get to impose it under our system, and so our job is going to be to support the law of the land."
Dan Schnur, a veteran Republican strategist who now directs the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, suggested that "you can tell a lot about the candidates for president by the way they reacted to today's decision."
Yes you can. The GOP presidential candidates in a nutshell: straight-up bigots vs dogwhistling "states' rights" phonies.