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Have conservatives given up on battling gay marriage?

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Mike Signorile noticed a distinct change in tone, and message, from conservative Republicans at the CPAC conference when discussing marriage equality.  Now they have technical concerns, rather than objecting to the morality of it.  Seems they're walking on some serious eggshells - the question is why?

Michele Bachmann toed this line too when I spoke with her, attacking the Prop 8 ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals -- a common target of conservatives -- rather than gay marriage itself, as did Oklahoma GOP Senator Inhofe, who has staunchly attacked gay marriage in the past.

Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, no supporter of gay rights, acknowledged "new thinking in the country," noting that there is "open debate" in the GOP on gay marriage and that "we may have a generational divide." Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform told me had "no position" on gay marriage. Even Joe the Plumber, Samuel Wurzelbacher, running for Congress, refrained from the gay-bashing and attacks on marriage equality he's done in the past, and said that if the states want to do it he'd okay with it.

As Washington State becomes the 7th State to bring equality to marriage -- and through a legislative action rather than court decision -- there was a distinct impression at CPAC that the anti-gay activists have realized they've lost a lot of ground and may have lost the war, particularly among young people.

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