Say It Ain’t So, Rudy

Ryan Sager reports:

In a startling departure from his previously stated position on civil unions, Mayor Giuliani came out to The New York Sun yesterday evening in opposition to the civil union law just passed by the New Hampshire state Senate.

“Mayor Giuliani believes marriage is between one man and one woman. Domestic partnerships are the appropriate way to ensure that people are treated fairly,” the Giuliani campaign said in a written response to a question from the Sun. “In this specific case the law states same sex civil unions are the equivalent of marriage and recognizes same sex unions from outside states. This goes too far and Mayor Giuliani does not support it.”

While the Giuliani campaign is likely to split hairs over how close this specific legislation is to marriage, the one thing that’s supposed to be unique about Rudy is that unlike the typical politician, he doesn’t split hairs–he’s up front and direct. He has always said he supports civil unions conceptually, and now he’s giving a lawyerly answer about an actual law.

Beyond my personal disappointment with this new position, I don’t really see the rationale for it from a purely political perspective. It’s hard to see how opposition to this single law will win him any new friends on the right given his long history of supporting civil unions and domestic partnerships. Social conservatives who vote on gay marriage will not be supporting Rudy anyway. At the same time, he may see his support errode among socially libertarian voters and those who respect him for not being a panderer.