Last week I was privileged to attend a breakfast sponsored by the Johnson County (IA) Republican Party where the featured guest was Senator Rand Paul. He spoke primarily about our run away government spending and the danger that such spending poses to the future stability of this republic. His remarks were well received by the partisan crowd. He offered numerous examples of government spending that could be cut, such as not sending fighter planes to the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt.
After his remarks, he took some questions and I asked him about a Bloomberg news account that he was bucking the Republican Party on the issue of homosexual marriage. He responded by first lecturing me that I shouldn’t believe everything I find on the internet, as the audience giggled, implying that Bloomberg was not a trusted news source (be careful investors!). I wonder where he thinks I should get my news (ABC, MSNBC, NY Times, Rush Limbaugh)? After diminishing my source, and by implication, me, he continued by claiming that the story was not true. He went on to explain his position which, as it turned out, was correctly reported in the story: that he is personally opposed to homosexual marriage, BUT he believes that it is an issue that should be resolved at the state level.
I am so sick of those “personally opposed BUT” arguments which are usually used by some real butts. “I am personally opposed to slavery, but I think it’s a state issue”, is exactly the position taken by Stephen Douglas over a century ago. Would Rand Paul have stood with Douglas? I would remind him that slavery was allowed under the constitution, but the constitution was amended because slavery is immoral everywhere.
Rand Paul does buck the Republican Party platform in opposing the federal Defense of Marriage Act and efforts to amend the constitution to establish traditional heterosexual marriage as the only civil form recognized by government. Perhaps he is positioning himself for 2016 as one of the new breed of Haley Barbour Republicans who want to divorce themselves from the “social issues.” Perhaps he should take a second look at the 2012 exit polls which reveal that “social issues” voters abandoned the Republican Party in sufficient numbers to cost them the election.
Paul went on to prophesy that the Supreme Court will most likely overturn state statutes prohibiting homosexual marriage and that popular support for “gay” marriage has reached the majority. On the latter point, I would disagree. 31 states have already codified traditional marriage, 27 within the last ten years. As recently as 2008, with Obama on the ballot, liberal Californians voted to support traditional marriage. I doubt if there has really been an unprecedented tidal wave of change in public opinion. Secondly, a Supreme Court ruling overturning state laws would only strengthen the argument in support of a federal constitutional amendment, if the preservation of traditional marriage is in the national interest. That is the question that must be considered.
Libertarian supporters always say that government has no business licensing marriage. They see marriage as strictly a religious institution. So, does the government have an interest in preserving traditional marriage? I believe it does and I think that most Americans and most Republicans agree with me. First, the government has an interest in perpetuating society through the proper rearing of children. Most people believe that the traditional family structure is the best vehicle for accomplishing that purpose. Secondly, maintaining the cultural values that made this the greatest nation on earth cannot be accomplished if we allow the foundation of the family to be destroyed.