Potential candidates for the GOP presidential ticket met in Iowa this week for Thursday’s Ames debate ahead of the weekend’s straw poll. When it came to a question on same-sex marriage the candidates were consistently against, but the variations in their answers did raise some interesting questions.
Mitt Romney declared that marriage is a “status” and therefore individual states should not be given the power to decide whether they grant marriage rights to same-sex couples. Instead there should be an established consistency brought about by a federal marriage amendment. So no to state sovereignty, yes to big government then — at least on this issue. Also calling marriage a status would seem to indicate Romney believes marriage is a government defined concept outside of a purely religious definition, and if so I’d be interested to know how he defends civil same-sex marriage discrimination in absence of religious doctrine.
Ron Paul inferred slippery slope arguments that put same-sex marriage and polygamy in the same bracket are so far out of reality they’re absurd, but he did say he thought marriage should be between a single man and a single woman and that the federal government shouldn’t be involved. I would be interested to find out, then, if Rep. Paul would like to get rid of the Defense of Marriage Act which in 1996 altered the federal government’s neutral stance on marriage by preventing it from recognizing state sanctioned same-sex marriages.
Rick Santorum, who had quite a metaphor filled week where gay marriage is concerned, went on the attack saying it sounded like Rep. Paul thought polygamous marriages would be okay. The jokes write themselves.
Michele Bachmann, on the other hand, was horn-tooting all the way. She was keen to point out that she has always supported the federal marriage amendment and confirmed that as president she wouldn’t nominate “activist judges who would legislate from the bench” so as to ensure when same-sex marriage does reach the court… well, she stopped short of saying it but clearly she wants a ruling along her ideological lines and is prepared to select judges on that basis.
Congressman Jon Huntsman, however, stood out among the other candidates when he stressed that while he doesn’t support same-sex marriage, he believes the nation can do better on equality when it comes to reciprocal beneficiary rights. He said he supports civil unions.
Watch the Think Progress video of the candidates’ answers below. The video unfortunately cuts Paul off before he can say he wants the federal government out of the marriage game, but you can read his full remarks and a transcript of the other candidates’ positions here.