While many conservative organizations immediately decried a federal judge's decision last week to invalidate the federal ban on recognizing gay marriages, tea party groups have been conspicuously silent on the issue.
The silence is by design, activists with the loosely affiliated movement said, because it is held together by an exclusive focus on fiscal matters and its avoidance of divisive social issues such as abortion and gay marriage.
And no, that doesn't mean the activists are all pro-DOMA and are just keeping their views under wraps:
Privately, though, many said they back the decision because it emphasizes the legal philosophy of states' rights….
"I do think it's a state's right," said Phillip Dennis, Texas state coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. The group does not take a position on social issues, he said, but personally, "I believe that if the people in Massachusetts want gay people to get married, then they should allow it, just as people in Utah do not support abortion. They should have the right to vote against that."
Everett Wilkinson, state director for the Florida Tea Party Patriots, agreed: "On the issue [of gay marriage] itself, we have no stance, but any time a state's rights or powers are encouraged over the federal government, it is a good thing."…
"That's just not something that's on our radar," said Judson Phillips, founder of the Tea Party Nation. He acknowledged, however, that some in his group—though not a majority—are opposed to the Defense of Marriage Act.
The situation is perhaps different in South Florida, where Wilkinson said "several hundred" of the group's supporters are gay. "Our stance might be different than someone who's in Oklahoma," he said.