The Agenda

Young conservatives yawn as candidates talk marriage

Mitt Romney has added a line to his stump speech lately, touting his opposition to marriage equality generally and his effort to keep Massachusetts from becoming, “the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage.”

Romney is working to burnish his social conservative credentials amid Rick Santorum’s rise in national polls.

Not to be outdone, Santorum yesterday urged marriage equality opponents in Washington state to continue the fight against a new law allowing same-sex couples to marry.  “I think that at least from my perspective it tends to water down marriage instead of encouraging men and women to form healthy marriages, and that to me should be the objective of the government because that is in the best interests of our society,” Santorum told a group opposed to the law.

But young people attending the Conservative Political Action Conference held last weekend in Washington, D.C., say the issue does not belong in the political arena, and one even suggested it’s antithetical to the conservative movement.  “I don’t really care about the social stuff. I think it’s big government when the government tells you who you can and cannot marry and that’s not conservative,” said Jordan Smith, a student at Millersville University.  Other college-age participants said social issues should take a back seat to economic concerns during the presidential campaign.