While the tea party movement has focused on fiscal concerns, social issues remain key for other GOP lawmakers, who are unhappy that such issues seem to have less importance these days.
In a letter to Republican leaders, tea party members advise the GOP to avoid culture-war social issues such as gay rights and abortion and to focus on reducing deficit and role of government.
On same-sex marriage and "don't ask, don't tell," Republicans and other conservatives increasingly are at odds with public opinion. Will the tea party movement help gay rights?
The gay community wants the same hate-crime protections that blacks and Jews have – and would get them in legislation before Congress now.