In today's The Washington Post, reporter Amber Phillips makes the case that more and more Republican lawmakers are not supporting anti-LGBT legislation, particularly bills that discriminate against individuals in the name of religion.
"[T]here's growing evidence that Republicans in Congress and across the country are sidestepping the more controversial religious protection and bathroom bills and, in some cases, embracing LGBT non-discrimination laws instead," Phillips writes. For some Republicans, this may be because they have LGBT friends or family members. Others avoid the debate because they can see no political benefits in pursuing such a contentious topic.
We certainly have seen evidence of Republicans backing away from controversial anti-LGBT bills. Take HB 757, Georgia's "religious liberty" bill. Governor Nathan Deal, a Republican, vetoed the measure on March 28, stating that he did not think that true religious liberty involved discriminating against his fellow citizens. His decision to nix HB 757 may have also been partially inspired by strong pressure from local and national businesses—even Disney and Marvel Studios threatened to boycott the state if the bill passed.
Missouri's SJR 39, a proposed constitutional amendment that threatened to harm LGBT couples in the name of religion, faced push-back from GOP lawmakers as well. During the House Emerging Issues Committee vote on April 27, Rep. Jim Hansen (R-Frankford) delivered an emotional speech against the measure, stating that he could not "play God" and judge how others lived their lives. SJR 39 ultimately ended up failing in committee with fully half of the votes against the measure cast by Republicans.
Though the Religious Right retains influence in the GOP, it seems increasingly clear that some Republican elected officials understand their constituents are beginning to tire of culture war.