Freedom to Marry Group's 'Conservative' Label Questioned in Gay Marriage Push

A same-sex marriage campaign spearheaded by a group calling itself conservative was launched Tuesday in hopes of capitalizing on the growing support for gay marriage among young Americans. Critics argue, however, that there is nothing conservative about supporting same-sex marriage.

The Freedom to Marry group implemented the "Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry" campaign on July 10, in which they claim that same-sex marriage "fulfills basic conservative values of responsibility and community, as well as limited government and individual freedom," according to the campaign's news release.

As The Huffington Post points out, a main pillar of the organization is their leadership group, which consists of nine young conservatives, both gay and straight, who support the legalization of same-sex marriage.

According to the campaign's official website, its purpose is to argue that the issue of marriage should not be a partisan question, as it can appeal to Republicans as much as it can to Democrats.

"It's the same type of argument, but it's crafted differently," Torrey Shearer, Republic and government relations executive, told The Huffington Post.

"We need to emphasize the Republican Party's history with limited government and personal responsibility and personal freedom, as opposed to talking points that are pretty typical in the Democratic Party and on the left on equal rights and things like that," he added.

A recent poll from ABC News shows that while 61 percent of Republicans believe same-sex marriage should be illegal, 46 percent of Republicans between ages 18-44 support the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The campaign is evidently tapping into this youth demographic to seek support for same-sex marriage, with Jo Deutsch, director of Freedom to Marry, telling The Advocate that "the future of this fight is in youth."

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which advocates marriage as being between one man and one woman, argues that same-sex marriage support is not a grassroots movement among true conservatives.

"It's not conservative to want to undermine marriage," Brown told The Washington Times.

"One of the core pillars of conservatism is protecting and uplifting marriage as the union of a man and a woman," Brown continued, adding that all major conservative thinkers, or "the fountainhead of American conservatism," agree upon that belief.

Brown argues that the true purpose of the campaign is to not represent a grassroots conservative movement for same-sex marriage, but rather to "bifurcate religious organizations -- get religious organizations to support redefining marriage -- and also the Republican Party."

This new youth campaign held a reception and training day at Capitol Hill on Tuesday, and will host a brunch at the Republican National Convention in Tampa next month.

The Freedom to Marry organization, started in New York City in 2003, campaigns for the legalization of same-sex marriage by partnering "with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings."