Rand Paul Waffles On Marriage

“The party can’t become the opposite of what it is. If you tell people from Alabama, Mississippi or Georgia, ‘You know what, guys, we’ve been wrong, and we’re gonna be the pro-gay-marriage party,’ they’re either gonna stay home or — I mean, many of these people joined the Republican Party because of these social issues. So I don’t think we can completely flip. But can we become, to use the overused term, a bigger tent? I think we can and can agree to disagree on a lot of these issues. I think the party will evolve. It’ll either continue to lose, or it’ll become a bigger place where there’s a mixture of opinions.” – Sen. Rand Paul, in a lengthy New York Times Magazine feature on the state of the libertarian movement.

Yesterday Paul spoke about same-sex marriage during an appearance before a Kentucky Republican group.

Asked whether he would support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday he supports the idea of traditional marriage but thinks Washington shouldn’t be involved in the issue. “I’m in favor of the concept,” the Kentucky Republican told an audience in Iowa. “I am in favor of traditional marriage, and I think that’s been the foundation for civilization for thousands of years.” In tune with his libertarian leanings, Paul reiterated that he supports the idea of removing the federal government from marriage. “I don’t want to register my guns in Washington or my marriage,” he said. “That may not please everybody but historically our founding fathers didn’t register their marriage in Washington. They registered it locally at the courthouse. I’d rather see it be a local issue, not a federal issue.”

Human Rights Campaign spokesman Fred Sainz reacts via press release:

“I can’t decide whether to be disturbed or pleased, so I’ve settled on confused. I just hope that when the libertarian from Kentucky heads to Iowa and New Hampshire, he doesn’t leave his love of liberty at home. The Republican party must move forward on this issue. The clock is ticking, three marriage cases have already reached the Supreme Court, and there is no doubt that this issue will cause the GOP enormous pain in 2016 if they don’t engage in a meaningful way, and fast.”