Facing a tidal shift among voters embracing same-sex marriage, gay Republicans are offering their party a graceful retreat. But religious conservatives warn that retreat will doom the GOP. November's election brought historic gains for the gay rights movement, with the first voter approval of marriage for gay and lesbian couples in Maine, Maryland and Washington, and voter rejection of a ban on such marriages in Minnesota. Defying predictions, President Obama suffered no backlash among African American and Latino voters. Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who endorsed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, drew less support than the marriage ballot measure in GOP-dominated counties in Maryland, indicating a large crossover Republican vote for marriage, according to an analysis by Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. "Republicans have to be delusional to think they can take that position into a national campaign, that there ought to be a constitutional amendment against something that there is now majority support for," Olson said.
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