Marriage ruling renews GOP centrists-vs.-base feud


WASHINGTON (AP) — The dramatic Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage is forcing Republican leaders to deal openly with the careful balance between placating their conservative base and reaching out to centrist voters.

Top GOP leaders showed notable restraint after the court decided to grant federal benefits to married gay couples.

But conservative activists fulminated. One GOP House member vowed to push a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

It's a delicate political dance that establishment Republicans must perform whenever divisive social issues gain new prominence.

Conservative activists care passionately about these issues and give Republican candidates little leeway.

But centrist voters hold more moderate views on the topics. Republicans need these centrist voters in order to win presidential elections.

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