TAMPA — They lost another fight at this year's Republican National Convention, but conservatives who support gay marriage are taking heart:
At least they had a fight.
When Republicans met last week to draft the party platform, endorsed at this week's convention, social conservatives such as Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council had to mount a fight against Republicans who support same-sex marriages, said Clarke Cooper, a former appointee in the George W. Bush administration and executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans.
In previous years, he said, there was no debate about the so-called marriage plank in the party platform.
"I see what happened last week as opponents to equality are scared," said Cooper, 40.
Cooper was speaking before an event Wednesday sponsored by Log Cabin Republicans and Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry. Around 100 people attended the program, which included comments from Margaret Hoover, a Republican consultant, CNN political commentator and great- granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover.
Casey Pick, Log Cabin's program director, said old-line social conservatives in the GOP should recognize polls showing a majority of young Republicans and independents support gay marriage.
"We've been saying for a long time that the generational wave is coming," she said. "Now, it's crashing."
Yet it's not just the platform documents working against their cause. The presumed Republican presidential ticket does not support gay marriage, either, and, at 42, vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan is part of the rising class of young conservatives that same-sex marriage proponents talk about.
Sarah Longwell, a lesbian and a member of the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry leadership committee, acknowledged that voting for Republicans who don't support gay marriage isn't easy.
She said it's a political calculation on the part of many Republicans to come out against gay marriage. "I believe they take the position to appeal to their primary base," she said. "But they've got to stop doing it, obviously."
Longwell, 32, said she agrees with Republicans 80 percent of the time on such issues as lower taxes. "I'm going to stay here and figure out how to get them to change on the other 20 percent," she said.