VIDEO: ‘Young Conservatives’ leader on GOP presidential candidates & the freedom to marry

On May 27, Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry campaign manager Jerri Ann Henry appeared on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell to sound off on the Republican Party's growing support for the freedom to marry, underlining that the current politicians who have declared their candidacy for the 2016 presidential nomination don't represent many conservatives' views on the freedom to marry.

Jerri Ann Henry said:

I think the most straightforward path for a presidential candidate is to recognize that there's diversity within the Republican party. There are going to be a lot of people who are for same-sex marriage and want to see that in their states - and those people should have a place in the Republican party, and a presidential candidate needs to embrace that while also recognizing that there are those who will oppose that, and they also have an equal spot in that party. That does kind of sound like splitting hairs, but they're going to have to move forward with an inclusive message - one that recognizes that ultimately families and two people coming together in a loving, committed way is at the cornerstone of our society, and we should do everything we can to make families stronger. 

For more than a year, Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, a project of Freedom to Marry, has been touring the country meeting with Republican leaders for the Reform the Platform campaign. The campaign makes the case that the official GOP platform should not include anti-LGBT language that calls for upholding marriage discrimination. 

The effort reflects the fact that the current roster of Republican candidates don't represent the reality about conservatives' views on the freedom to marry. Increasingly, Republicans and other conservatives support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, with recent polls showing 40% of all Republicans are supportive. Among younger conservatives, support is even stronger, with 56% of Republicans under under 45 and 61% of Republicans under 30 supportive of marriage for same-sex couples. 

And just this spring, more than 300 prominent conservative leaders signed onto a "friend-of-the-court" brief to the United States Supreme Court arguing that the freedom to marry is a conservative value, and that marriage is strengthened when same-sex couples are welcomed into the institution. The brief explains that marriage's value to society and to individual families and couples is promoted by providing access to civil marriage for all American couples.

Learn more about Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry here, and watch Jerri Ann on Lawrence O'Donnell: