TAMPA, Fla. — A conservative member of the U.S. House predicted on Tuesday that anti-gay marriage forces will win at the ballot this fall as he expressed support for language opposed to gay nuptials in the draft Republican Party platform.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a two-term congressman and rising star in the Republican Party, told the Washington Blade at the Republican National Convention he believes forces opposed to marriage equality will succeed after he was informed the issue will appear on the ballot this fall in four states: Minnesota, Maine, Maryland and Washington State.
“That’s good,” Chaffetz said. “Traditional marriage I’m sure will win. It has, I think, 30 times in a row, now, so that’s a pretty good record.”
While efforts to pass constitutional amendments against same-sex marriage have succeeded in each of the 30 states where the issue has come before voters, Chaffetz may be wrong in his prediction because polls show public opinion is changing. For example, a poll from MassINC Polling Group and WBUR in June found that 55 percent of Maine residents support the marriage equality ballot initiative as written, while only 36 percent are opposed to it.
Additionally, Chaffetz expressed support for the anti-gay marriage language in the draft version of the Republican Party platform. The document was recently revealed to include language that limits marriage to one man, one woman; attacks the Obama administration for failing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act; criticizes judges who rule in favor of marriage equality; and endorses a Federal Marriage Amendment.
Asked whether he supports the language, Chaffetz replied, “I’m supportive of the platform.” When further pressed on whether he, in fact, supports a U.S. constitutional amendment ending same-sex marriage throughout the country, Chaffetz said, “I support that.”
“I like what we did in Utah,” Chaffetz said. “In Utah, it’s part of the state constitution. I think in many ways, this is a state issue, but I would also support a constitutional amendment.”
When asked about his reasons for opposing same-sex marriage, he said only, “I believe in the traditional definition of marriage.”
The lawmaker spoke with the Blade in the Tampa Convention Center following a speech he delivered on the floor calling for the election of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and greater “fiscal discipline” in government.
Chaffetz has been at the forefront of efforts against same-sex marriage while serving in the U.S. House. While Democrats still controlled the chamber, he introduced a resolution of disapproval against the marriage equality law in D.C. and co-sponsored a resolution against U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling against California’s Proposition 8. In the current Congress, Chaffetz voted on the floor for three House Republican amendments reaffirming DOMA.
The lawmaker is considered to have a future as a leader in the Republican Party and worked as a representative for the Romney campaign during the primary season. Chaffetz was widely believed to be considering a primary challenge against Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), but announced he would not pursue the seat at this time.