Good roundup, Maggie, but I wouldn’t really equate Rand Paul’s silence on Indiana to a lack of support for religious freedom in business. “Freedom to associate” has been a big part of Rand’s pitch since he first ran for Senate, on the premise that if a business owner’s view is truly extreme, people just won’t patronize him or her. He’s been so adamant on this point, in fact, that some liberals tried to twist his statements into a criticism of the Civil Rights Act.
Leaving aside the issue of Indiana, Senator Paul has had a big week in the marriage debate: He has just defined the push to change the definition of marriage as a “moral dilemma” forcing national media to (finally) take note that he considers the erosion of the family to be a serious issue. He just has a different approach for dealing with it. This Bloomberg article sums it up nicely:
“I’m not sure exactly how I’d come down on the federalization part,” he explains. “My fear is that in federalizing it, we’re going to lose the battle for the whole country. In keeping it state by state, which is the way marriage has always been adjudicated, we’ll have states that continue to have traditional marriage. I think we’re losing in large areas of the country now. If the urban areas are able to dictate, for the rest of the country, what our definition of marriage is, I’m really concerned about that.”
As the “Conservatarian” in the race, this is the sort of answer you would expect, and sadly, it makes a certain amount of sense based on our federal record (federalization gave us Roe v. Wade, and will likely give marriage backers another SCOTUS defeat this summer).
I don’t entirely agree with Rand Paul’s strategy (federalism also got us the Partial Birth Abortion Ban and the Hyde Amendment), but I give him credit for trying to find an answer other than the “I oppose gay marriage, but let’s respect whatever the courts say” line that’s being bandied about by Bush and other establishment Republicans.
On that, I’ll stand with Rand.
Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.