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http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/religious-liberty-has-replaced-gay-marriage-in-gop-talking-points/

It was so casual, the way Marco Rubio slipped same-sex marriage, unprovoked, into his closing statement at the Feb. 13 Republican debate.

“We are going to be a country that says that life begins at conception and life is worthy of the protection of our laws,” he said. “We’re going to be a country that says that marriage is between one man and one woman. We are going to be a country that says the Constitution and the rights that it talks about do not come from our president, they come from our creator.”

...(but) in the Republican presidential debates, “same-sex marriage” and variations of that term have come up less frequently than they did in GOP debates during the 2012 and 2008 primary elections.

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The shift from talking directly about same-sex marriage to more glancing references is also reflected in the GOP debate rhetoric. Mentions of “religious,” “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” appeared more than ever in this year’s debates when referring to the rights of business owners to refuse services to gay customers. It’s code, Dennard says, for “gay marriage.”

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The shift has strategic significance, too. Gay marriage has long been a gateway issue, an important indicator for many voters as to whether the party shares their fundamental values. By (outright) standing against gay marriage, the (shifty) party risks alienating new members.

Just as GOP is Code for

Gobs Of Poop
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Typical Republican behavior