Rick Perry, the three-term Texas governor and somewhere-between-rumored-and-announced GOP presidential candidate, raised some social conservatives’ eyebrows last week with this comment about New York’s new gay marriage law:
Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business and that’s fine with me. That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.
The remark to a gathering of Republican donors came as a surprise to many social conservatives because Perry is regarded as one of their own. Asked about the comment in a radio interview with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Perry drew a distinction between it and his personal beliefs: “It’s fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue. Obviously, gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn’t changed.” He also said he favored a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage:
I have long supported the appointment of judges who respect the constitution and the passage of a federal marriage amendment. That amendment defines marriage between one man and one woman, and it protects the states from being told otherwise. It respects the rights of the state by requiring three quarters of a states vote to ratify. It’s really strong medicine but is again our founding fathers had such great wisdom and their wisdom is just as clear and profound today as it was back in the late eighteenth century.
Michele Bachmann, another social conservative who’s officially running for president, has spoken in favor of the same approach.
Back to Perry: The Texas governor also reiterated his 10th Amendment stance this week by saying the legality of abortion should be up to the states if the Supreme Court were ever to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Should gay marriage be decided state by state?
Total Voters: 207
Perry is being consistent on the states’ rights issue. But is that a principled position or a cop-out? Should the issue of gay marriage — we’ll leave out abortion for today, since Roe is still very much in force — be decided on a state-by-state basis until/unless there’s a constitutional amendment on the issue? Or would there be too many problems caused by gay marriages that are recognized in some states but not others (which the Defense of Marriage Act, now in legal limbo, was passed in part to address)?
That’s this week’s Poll Position. Answer in the poll and in the comments thread — and know that I will be keeping a close eye on comments to make sure they are substantive and in good taste.
– By Kyle Wingfield