If the Republican Party, as an entity, were smart (and I admit that\’s quite a stretch), it would thank Dave Jolly profusely for rewriting its plank on gay marriage.      

Here is what Jolly, a member of the House of Representatives from Florida, had to say about last week\’s decision by a Florida judge, to overturn the state\’s ban on gay marriage:

Asa matter of my Christian faith, I believe in traditional marriage.  But as a matter ofConstitutional principle I believe in a form of limited governmentthat protects personal liberty. To me, that means that the sanctityof one\’s marriage should be defined by their faith and by theirchurch, not by their state. Accordingly, I believe it is fullyappropriate for a state to recognize both traditional marriage aswell as same-sex marriage, and therefore I support the recentdecision by a Monroe County Circuit Judge.”

Yes. Yes. Yes!

 That is exactly what the Republican stance on gay marriage should be:  that, regardless of one\’s personal beliefs about gay marriage, as a simple matter of freedom the rights of people with different beliefs deserve the same respect and the same protection.

Republicans, in aggregate, clearly do not support gay marriage.  But that in no way prevents them from recognizing the rights of others who feel differently — which, where I come from, is the definition of freedom.

Remember:  freedom is irrelevant if everyone agrees.  The only time it is meaningful, is when they don\’t. 

It is time – long past time, actually – for Republicans to address from the standpoint that freedom is the most precious thing we have.  

If Rep. Jolly\’s words were used to rewrite its platform on gay marriage, it would celebrate the freedom we have (or, at any rate, are supposed to have), without sacrificing anyone\’s personal beliefs. 

Not only would that elevate the party on principle, but it would almost certainly increase its vote totals, by including gay people (and I have no doubt there is a good-sized segment of them) who agree with Republicans on some or most issues but cannot vote Republican because of the party\’s overt intolerance of their sexual orientation.

Increase votes by standing on principle?  Wow.  There\’s something you don\’t find often in politics.  When a political party has a chance to do that, it should not hesitate for even one second.

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