Former McCain Adviser Endorses Same Sex Marriage

Steve Schmidt, who was John McCain's chief political strategist during the campaign, has largely stayed out of sight since the election. He went back to California, where he lives with his wife and kids, and went back to work as a consultant, though he no longer formally advises political candidates. During the campaign, Schmidt made no secret of the fact that his personal views often ran far to the left of his party. In an interview this week with the Washington Blade, Schmidt, whose only sister is gay, came out in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples and called for the Republican Party to be more inclusive of gays and lesbians. "I am personally supportive of (marriage) equality for gay couples, and I believe it will happen over time," Schmidt said. "I think that more and more Americans are insistent that, at a minimum, gay couples should be treated with respect and when they see a political party trying to stigmatize a group of people who are hardworking, who play by the rules, who raise decent families, they're troubled by it." The former McCain strategist told the paper that he voted against Proposition 8, which ended same-sex marriage in California. Schmidt, who will speak at next month's Log Cabin Republican convention in Washington, said he believes the GOP has been "shrinking party" in recent years because of intolerance. "One of the most tragic things in the world (is) when people are closeted and are denied their sexuality and this incredibly important part of their lives and the destructive potential of that action," Schmidt said. "I've come to believe over time that, as Dick Cheney said, freedom for everybody means freedom for everybody."