National Organization For Marriage Falsely Claims Ron Paul Wants To “Eliminate Marriage”

Ron Paul is alone among the major Presidential candidates in refusing to sign the “Marriage Pledge” sponsored by the so-called National Organization For Marriage which, among other things, says the candidate would:

  • Support and send to the states a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman,
  • Defend DOMA in court,
  • Appoint judges and an attorney general who will respect the original meaning of the Constitution,
  • Appoint a presidential commission to investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters,
  • Support legislation that would return to the people of D.C. their right to vote for marriage.

Paul, in fact, has said publicly that he supports DOMA, a position that I’ve criticized him heavily for elsewhere. However, he also opposes a Federal Marriage Amendment, saying that the issue should be left to the states and that, ideally, the government should not be involved in sanctioning or defining marriage to begin with. That last position has led the National Organization for Marriage to start airing this rather deceptive ad in Iowa:

There’s a pretty big difference between saying you favor getting government out of the business of defining marriage, thus leaving it to churches and private institutions, and saying you want to “eliminate marriage.” One is the position Paul actually holds, the other is pretty much a lie.As much as I’ve been critical of Paul lately, he’s being treated completely unfairly on this one.

Personally, I’m sympathetic to Paul’s position. It is the ideal libertarian answer. However, I’m not sure it’s at all practical at this point. If government isn’t defining marriage, then how do you deal with issues of intestate succession, divorce, or child custody? These are not easy questions to answer, which is why as long as government is involved in this area of life, it must not engage in irrational discrimination.

H/T David Weigel

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Console says:

    This is good news for Paul. To me, the only thing that could stop Paul’s popularity with young people is to highlight how much the rights of minorities could be adversely affected with Paul’s federalist cop out stances.

    Now Paul gets to be seen as in opposition to socially conservative groups like NOM even though on an issue like this (as far as being president goes), the only thing that matters is his position on DOMA.

  2. Vast Variety says:

    That type of ad is pretty typical for a group like NOM who routinely Photoshops their flyers to make it seem like they actually get more than a handful of people at their rallies.

  3. JB Harshaw says:

    Wow… do you read your own writing? You clearly stated Paul’s position:

    >he also opposes a Federal Marriage Amendment, saying that the issue should be left to the states

    And yet you conclude with an inanity:

    >However, I’m not sure it’s at all practical at this point. If government isn’t defining marriage, then how do you deal with issues of intestate succession, divorce, or child custody?

    The FEDERAL government is not involved with estate settlement, divorce, OR child custody — those are already STATE level issues.

    For someone who claims to be an attorney, your grasp of the rather large divide between Federal and State roles seems to be pretty poor.

    Do you clients know you are so ill-informed?

  4. You’re not paying attention, JB.

    Paul has said more than once that he would prefer that government were out of the marriage business entirely. That is what the idiots at NOM are misrepresenting. And that is what I was referring to.

  5. Vast Variety says:

    @JB Harshaw: There is a role for Federal Government in those issues when they involve more than one state which happens fairly frequently these days. Granted the role is pretty superficial in that it’s limited to the Article VI Section 1.

    Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

    By the way, this clause, along with the 14th amendment, is what makes Section 2 of DOMA unconstitutional.

  6. Console says:

    @JB Harshaw:

    This is exactly what I mean by the phrase “federalist cop out.” Yes, states have control over marriage. That doesn’t change the fact that marriage matters to the execution of federal laws. Green cards, social security benefits, federal employee benefits, etc. Just saying the words “it should be left to the states” doesn’t magically change the nature of governing. Marriage still matters to the federal government. The Defense of Marriage act inherently defines a federal role in marriage that Paul supports.

  7. A voice from another precinct says:

    If government isn’t defining marriage, then how do you deal with issues of intestate succession, divorce, or child custody? These are not easy questions to answer, which is why as long as government is involved in this area of life, it must not engage in irrational discrimination.

    This statement seems to sum up all of what people in groups like NOM (and, apparently, some of the people who post here) don’t get. Marriage is a binary institution composed of cultural and legal components. In contract law (and I am not a lawyer and don’t play one on TV, so my knowledge is rudimentary) the state gets to define the situations that constitute contracts–ergo, the state can grant marriage contracts to any blendings of people who either meet or need the protections of that contractural obligation. In fact, the state needs to do that because we can’t count on society to be of one accord (as we see even in today’s posts). The cultural components exert force of their own and society plays a role by electing the representatives of the state, but law is the final declaration of what can and can’t be done.

    Put another way, allow me to paraphrase:

    And Jesus said, “show me a marriage license.” And the people brought him one.
    And Jesus said, ” In whose name is this license given?”
    And the people said, “In the name of the state.”
    Therefore, Jesus said, “Give to the state what belongs to the state and give to God what belongs to God.”

    And that, boys and girls, is how Ron Paul comes to his notion that the government should stay out of marriage–because he doesn’t get it either. It’s not one or the other, it’s both. The state has a responsibility to do what is right for all the citizens. The citizens have the choice to do what is right for God (God’s street always seems to run the direction of agency for the individual, funny about that…).