Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Comrades, I beg of you, do not resort to compulsory taxation. There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”     Robert A. Heinlein,    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

July 19, 2007

Ron Paul And Gay Rights

by Doug Mataconis

Ron Paul is widely considered, rightfully so I would argue, to be the most libertarian candidate for President running in either party. At the same time, a few bloggers have raised questions about some of his public policy stands and whether they really are pro-liberty. He favors restrictions on immigration, while most libertarians would argue in favor of (more) open borders. He has voted against every major free trade pact that has come before Congress and while his points about so-called “managed trade” are well taken, the fact remains that regimes like NAFTA, CAFTA, and individual free trade agreements with nations like Israel have made foreign trade vastly more free. He’s pro-life, though personally I don’t think being a libertarian necessarily requires you to be on either side of the abortion issue.

There’s one area that bothers me, though, and that’s when it comes to his views on the right of homosexuals to live their lives as they choose.

Several months ago, Kip Esquire blogged about this issue and asked just how libertarian you’d think someone who made this statement was:

I oppose federal efforts to redefine marriage as something other than a union between one man and one woman[.] … In fact, the institution of marriage most likely pre-dates the institution of government!

If I were in Congress in 1996, I would have voted for the Defense of Marriage Act[.]

I was an original cosponsor of the Marriage Protection Act, HR 3313, that removes challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act from federal courts’ jurisdiction.

If I were a member of [a state] legislature, I would do all I could to oppose any attempt by rogue judges to impose a new definition of marriage on the people of my state.

The division of power between the federal government and the states is one of the virtues of the American political system.

[I]f federal judges wrongly interfere and attempt to compel a state to recognize the marriage licenses of another state, that would be the proper time for me to consider new legislative or constitutional approaches.

The author ? Ron Paul back in 2004

In response, Kip made this point that I find hard to refute:

Libertarians do not invoke history — especially the history of religion — as a justification for anti-gay bigotry or unfair and unequal treatment under law.

(…)

Libertarians do not pretend that discrimination, the suppression of individual rights or the betrayal of the principles of the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments are any “better” when they occur at the state level rather than at the federal level. Libertarians understand that “states’ rights” is an insolent fiction: individuals have rights; states have powers — powers that they can and do abuse unless properly checked.

Finally, libertarians do not fear the shibboleth of “activist judges” — sorry, “rogue judges.” No libertarian fears a judge more than a politician (or bureaucrat). No libertarian fears a federal court more than a state legislature (or city council).

In other words, liberty is liberty whether you’re talking about the state government or the federal government. Congressman Paul’s argument is not the argument of a libertarian, its the argument of a conservative traditionalist.

And its an unfortunate position for someone who so eloquently proclaims liberty to be taking.

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55 Comments

  1. Doug, you clearly have a Left Libertarian bent, and favor a big government that enforces “rights” as you see them in every nook and cranny it can, but please , for one moment, at least acknowledge there is a left and right to the libertarian thing.

    I see you make so many mistakes and mischaracterizations I can only conclude you are ill-read in the philosophical/ideological aka religion of your choosing.

    Comment by C Bowen — July 19, 2007 @ 6:47 pm
  2. C Bowen,

    With all due respect, you have no idea what you are talking about.

    I’m talking about a government recognizing rights that already exist. Such as the right to freely associate, the right to be treated equally, and the right to live your life as you wish.

    Personally, as I’ve said here many times before, I don’t think the government belongs in the marriage business at all, but, so long as it is, there is no justification for it to discriminate against any entire class of citizens because some religion disapproves of their lifestyle.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 19, 2007 @ 6:54 pm
  3. OK! first of all Ron Paul is a Republican candidate last I heard, not a Libertarian candidate. He’s has been a Republican in congress for more then a decade.

    This explains his conservative views on some of the issues. Your making a story out of nothing

    Comment by Jeff — July 19, 2007 @ 6:57 pm
  4. Jeff,

    Congressman Paul’s supporters are the ones calling him a libertarian (note the small-l, meaning a philosophical libertarian, not a member of the Libertarian Party).

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 19, 2007 @ 6:59 pm
  5. As an attorney I would think you to be less myopic and be able to see the collective meaning of “words”. With that being said, I have been in the room with several attorneys and sometimes only one, and the profession by nature breads flip-floppers-always willing to say what-if for both arguments and delaying a final conclusion.

    It is pretty simple. Keep the FED out of it. Let each state decide, E.g. how many states have legalized same sex partnerships?? Does the Federal government recognize them?? NO! Removing the Feds power to usurp states rights means that if a state legalizes it, then the Feds must not interfere with that decision. That is the power of state sovereignty. That is the nature of our intended governess.

    If one acknowledges individual rights then one can not be in favor of a constitutional amendment to protect one’s rights over another.

    The long and short of it this… two of the branches of government have been hijacked by the executive branch— in the big scheme of things that is more important than gay rights or abortion rights.

    If the basis of the constitution has been usurped where does that leave us?

    Comment by Amy — July 19, 2007 @ 7:01 pm
  6. Ron Paul is a Republican candidate with Liberatarian leanings. He flat out tells you he is a constitutionalist first and foremost.
    The fact is there is NO one with more integrity, if that were possible, running for the presidency.
    We all have an issue here or there but overall he is by far the best candidate for liberty

    Comment by Flo — July 19, 2007 @ 7:02 pm
  7. Amy,

    This isn’t an argument about the Constitution, it’s an argument about individual rights.

    Constitutionally, the Federal Government has no business whatsoever getting involved in the question of what marriage is or is not —- which leads to the interesting historical issue of how Utah was forced to renounced polygamy to gain admittance to the Union.

    From an individual rights perspective, though, the question is which level of authority has the right to define what marriage is in a way that restricts freedom, it’s why they should have that right at all.

    If you believe in individual liberty, then I can see no logical argument again banning gay marriage whether its at the federal or state levels.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 19, 2007 @ 7:04 pm
  8. This we can agree on- in a republic (which we have, albeit hanging from a thread) it’s is the minorities/individuals rights that prevail. I agree that no government should be involved with a partnership, consensual act or contract.

    My point is that to me, Dr. Paul is preaching from he FED pulpit and placing the decisions to the state/local level. While I agree that it is not the states position, I feel we as citizens have more control over their decision making than we do at the FED level. Perhaps I blindly misunderstand his position since I am for nonintervention at the federal level and believe if we can remove them from the process, that individual rights will once again prevail.

    Comment by Amy — July 19, 2007 @ 7:15 pm
  9. And I will add that I respectfully disagree. It is about preserving the constitution. This election is all about preserving tech constitution-reinstating the checks and balances and reinstating individual rights. Without that, the rest of it is smoke and mirrors used to divide U.S. and our common goal–Freedom.

    Comment by Amy — July 19, 2007 @ 7:21 pm
  10. Dr. Paul is clearly in favor of allow gay marriage. He said so (along with allowing gays equal treatment in the military) in his interview in Google.

    Dr. Paul also seems very concerned with the Federal government taking more powers away from the states. The power to regulate marriage is clearly something which congress does not legally have (not that something like legality has ever stopped them before, though).

    I think the issue is that he does not like the idea of the federal government defining what marriage is for the states or the people. He might not be in favor of redefining marriage as being possible between gays, but I don’t think he’s at all against the idea of gay marriage itself. I suppose that sounds a little odd, but I’d imagine he is influenced by his religious background.

    I know he probably doesn’t agree with gay marriage, gambling, pornography, and drugs, but its precisely because he does not want to push his morality on everyone else that he should be president. Its rare for a politician to know the limits of his moral and economic wisdom, and Dr. Paul knows where those limits are (which is part of the reason, I think, why he doesn’t want to cut a lot of unconstitutional programs, but rather just legalize competition with them).

    Comment by G — July 19, 2007 @ 7:26 pm
  11. I don’t know Doug. It seems like Dr. Paul is adamant about what the federal government, the federal judiciary, and the state judiciaries cannot do. He does use a lot of historical data to back up his position. It isn’t as radical as a true libertarian argument, but it is an argument against the federal government’s involvement.

    I don’t know his stance on jurisdiction of the state legislature on the issue of gay marriage. However, based on recent comments, I would think that he’s much more friendly to the equality for gays in that he would get the state out of the business of defining what constitutes a marriage and doling benefits accordingly.

    As a counter to the Kip argument, I do not fear judges if they are operating within the limits of their job. However, I do have reason to be afraid when judges abuse their power and make decisions that are legislative in nature or make decisions that run counter to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution.

    But Kip is also right, I’d be far more afraid of the legislative branch and the executive branch than a judge sitting in a court room.

    Comment by TanGeng — July 19, 2007 @ 7:33 pm
  12. “This isn’t an argument about the Constitution, it’s an argument about individual rights.”

    You lost me right here. Because the Constitution can be changed, with amendments, and as such you can better define the individual rights on a federal level, and give congress the powers to make sure the states aren’t infringing on those rights. For example, slavery.

    Anytime you say the constitution doesn’t matter when talking about things our government should do, you’re wrong.

    Comment by badmedia — July 19, 2007 @ 7:40 pm
  13. In a TV interview (can’t remember which) he said he advocated getting rid of government marriage altogether and recognizing only civil unions.

    It’s a point I made in a blogpost here a while back so I’m glad to see the old man has come onboard.

    Comment by Nick — July 19, 2007 @ 8:04 pm
  14. http://youtube.com/watch?v=yCM_wQy4YVg

    12:15… “I’m supportive of all voluntary associations, and people can call it whatever they want.”

    Comment by js290 — July 19, 2007 @ 8:12 pm
  15. Get over your holier-than-thou gay self. You should get the same exact rights the rest of us get, not some special little subsection carved out just for your little special interests, to be amended and restricted on the whims of future administrations.

    He alread alluded to tossing out DADT, because he think soldiers and sailors should be judged on merit.

    Comment by Andrea — July 19, 2007 @ 8:20 pm
  16. I’m with G and js 290.

    Whatever Dr. Paul said back in the day, he’s changed his mind.

    Go ahead–call him a flip-flopper. I dare you.

    Comment by Walker Pfost — July 19, 2007 @ 8:22 pm
  17. I’m rather confused: I was fairly certain that Dr. Paul had voted against the latest attempts to define marriage as between a man and woman.

    Comment by Micah — July 19, 2007 @ 9:10 pm
  18. Andrea,

    Get over your holier-than-thou gay self

    Yea, well, I’m married. To a woman. And, like, totally hetrosexual.

    Sorry.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 19, 2007 @ 9:35 pm
  19. There was an interesting article by Michael Kinsley about this subject just about four years ago in Slate. It’s available at http://www.slate.com/id/2085127

    In my opinion, government should not be in the position to either approve, forbid, or otherwise regulate any relationship voluntarily entered into by parties capable of consent. Simply get government out of the marriage business altogether, and use contract law for those that want to provide for inheritance, asset management, dependents, and the other aspects now covered by marriage law. People who want a partner to make decisions in case they are incapacitated, or for health benefits, or whatever, should be able to do so by simply signing a contract mutually agreed to by the parties involved.

    This would remove the semantic sticking point religious conservatives have about gay marriage, while guaranteeing gays and straights the same legal rights.

    Comment by Mike — July 19, 2007 @ 9:41 pm
  20. Re: Paul, well you know, he wasn’t born in SanFran during the 60′s and 70′s, etc. He believes in the organizational model of “marriage” as a valid legal entity. Oh boo hoo – if it really is “one in ten”, then there’s a HUGE chunk of that remaining 90% that would define marriage as “a union between a man and a woman”, whether or not they particularly have any intent to enforce such. Not I, FWIW. You are a small but vocal minority, and the fact is the bulk of the herd is slow to adapt. That is NOT “homophobia” – it’s apathy and lethargy and indifference. RP, at least, is sticking to the position he truly holds, tho one can argue it is the wrong position. However, this is a fringe issue, and arguably a red herring, as the real issues are war/money/liberty/corruption, etc… not “gay marriage”.

    Or, if you care more about that issue than the rest, you’re clueless and shamefully underinformed.

    Re: me, I’m with Heinlein on this one. There’s more than one way to run a household, and I see no problem with group marriages, time-limited financial contracts, or homosexuality, even though I’m straight as an arrow. I mean, if you want to take yourself out of the gene pool, be my guest. However, what the hell should a State have to say about the way we run things on our private property? So I have six wives and one of them’s a fichus – so what? Who are you to tell me not to “marry” a shrub?

    In short, I told my GF of 10 years very early on: I want a family and a wife, but I am not getting married; my promise is to me and to you, not to your mother or a church or a state, period. Deal with it.

    So to that end, isn’t this whole question thoroughly retarded? Homos: go have a wedding, invite your friends, and (if you’re anything like the heteros) enjoy the agony of divorce in 50% of the cases. But do NOT ask me to form a state to “recognize” some newfound tax break, for hetero or homo – I do not think ANY state should have ANY opinion.

    So maybe Ron’s just a little old fashioned when it comes to his rural-ish upbringing. Sue him. However, when it comes to ideas regarding States and Money and Freedom, he’s the only guy running who is not a complete Neanderthal. The rest are running on platforms that are most closely associated with the policies of Ramses I and Constantine.

    Comment by Ellis_Wyatt — July 19, 2007 @ 10:23 pm
  21. Ellis Wyatt………..I could not have said it any better myself………..Gay rights is not what’s at stake, here. Gay rights won’t matter if Ron Paul doesn’t get elected……….Nothing will……….

    Comment by Visaman27 — July 19, 2007 @ 11:45 pm
  22. According to the ninth and tenth amendments, marriage is a state issue, not federal. Let’s let Dr. Paul do his constitutional job of getting the federal monkey off our backs, then work on changing things in our own states. Free trade is free trade unencumbered and uninfringed by tariffs, quotas, regulation, government agreements, etc… The “free trade” offered by NAFTA, GATT etc., is mercantilism, regardless of whether it appears to increase trade comparative to past history, it is still a far, far cry from free trade. As far as migration, I’m a NO borders kind of guy. However, we have much to do to get our house in order, in the way of getting rid of government transfers of wealth, such as in health care, education, minimum wage laws and socialist security first. Remove the negative incentives to migration and immigration becomes as good for those who want to make a positive contribution and emigration does to those who want to live at the expense of others. The one issue Ron Paul hits on that the others gloss over is the damage done through the printing of fiat currency. The Federal reserve is amassing a huge debt which is killing the value of the dollar. It’s a nice bubble that gives us the feeling of prosperity… while it lasts, but all economic bubbles come to an end. Whether we tighten our belts and let this one down slowly or ignore it until it pops will make the difference between a comfortable life or one spent in abject poverty for our children. Ron Paul is human. He has his faults, but he’s the dose of reality we desperately need right now.

    Comment by Bryan Morton — July 19, 2007 @ 11:55 pm
  23. I understand that there is no such thing as the perfect candidate. But I do think there is such a thing as the “best” candidate. I feel that Ron Paul is the “best” candidate. If the subject of gay marriage is the only issue you find a real problem with, then thats not all that bad. I see a ton of problems with the other candidates. It would be sad to see people not vote for Paul based on one nit picking thing, compared to the vast array of problems the other candidates have. Just my 2 cents. In the end my opinion only matters to me, but I figured I would speak up anyway. God bless.

    Comment by Mike — July 19, 2007 @ 11:55 pm
  24. The Google interview is really the best thing out there so far in terms of really understanding Paul’s views. The man has integrity – he personally holds traditional beliefs when it comes to the definition of “marriage.” Even so, he is adamant in his belief that is it unconstitutional for the government to interfere with personal relationships. In the Google video, he quite clearly states that he is supportive of “all voluntary associations.” He is interested in individual liberty, and that includes the liberty of gay individuals.

    Comment by Susan — July 20, 2007 @ 12:00 am
  25. Forgot to include the Google interview link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCM_wQy4YVg

    Comment by Susan — July 20, 2007 @ 12:01 am
  26. I’d like to throw in my hat on Doug’s side in this one. After reading the original post a few times, I find it a fair and reasonable question.

    I’ve been a long time Libertarian (with a capital L), and have registered Republican so I can vote for Dr. Paul. He is a staunch and nearly flawless supporter of the libertarian principles that the constitution was intended to protect.

    One troubling pattern I see from election to election is our tendency to watch for one single “deal-breaker” in each candidate. It seems we scan the tidal wave of information looking for that one drop of data that tells us “this one is no good”. For some candidates, this drop lands quickly and is followed by a flood of corroborating information which confirms our decision. For others, like Ron Paul, we get astoundingly consistent information, spanning many issues and many years. Perhaps that understandably spurs us to look harder for the inevitable “inconsistency”.

    I don’t consider myself a Ron Paul apologist. I agree with most of his positions. I disagree with a handful. For almost every other candidate, this ratio is completely reversed. Rationally, which contender makes the most sense for me to support? I am not offered, and will never be offered, a candidate who is in lock step with my every conviction.

    So, back to the original post. I have no issue with the accuracy of the statements made about Dr. Paul’s stances on the issues, both then and now. It’s interesting to note how very unlikely it would be to have clear stances to evaluate from the other candidates.

    While I see no problem with the accuracy of the original post’s factual assertions, and its main conclusion, I do disagree with some of the other conclusions. I’ve yet to hear of a true “free trade” agreement. Free trade means free trade. I support a separation of business and state. Paul opposes amnesty for *illegal* immigrants as it would be unfair to the legal immigrants waiting for a turn. That’s *almost* what Doug wrote. I agree with Doug’s conclusion about Paul’s abortion stance, namely, that libertarian views don’t require one answer or the other. The whole debate hinges on one’s definition of where life begins. On the topic at hand, I also find Kip Esquire’s rebuttal compelling. I agree that government should not insert itself in any voluntary agreements between consenting adults who have no dispute. It is not what I want my government doing (for *any* such agreement).

    Do I agree with everything in Dr. Paul’s 2004 article? Nope. As a libertarian, I don’t see rights as sacred at one level of government, and violable at another. Dr. Paul also stated at some length how the constitution, and *any* federal legislation was the wrong venue for a definition of marriage. I agree with that completely. But I disagree with his hand’s-off view of state restrictions, which might be constitutionally correct but is not consistent with libertarian ideals.

    “Congressman Paul’s argument is not the argument of a libertarian, its the argument of a conservative traditionalist.”

    Agreed. It’d be interesting to ask Dr, Paul if his opinion has shifted at all since 2004. Probably not.

    Valid as Doug’s observation is, it won’t change who I’ll be voting for in 2008. I don’t see another candidate who is even remotely as principled as Ron Paul when it comes to constitutionality and respecting individual rights (social and fiscal). Except, of course, for the Libertarian candidate.

    Comment by Dave — July 20, 2007 @ 1:07 am
  27. Dear Doug – and Dave Nalle I suppose, laf –

    You guys are ridiculous. If you vote for some warmonger candidate over Paul because he doesn’t like the Federal Judiciary (and, let’s be fair, it’s singularly horrible – if any institution is worse than President Bush it’s been historically the Supreme Court), then I really hope you can sleep at night. I really do.

    Actually, I hope the jackbooted thugs come and draft you first for WWIV.

    Comment by bret — July 20, 2007 @ 5:32 am
  28. Bret,

    Actually, I’d be more likely to not vote for anyone at all

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 20, 2007 @ 5:37 am
  29. Absolutely terrible one sided description. The quotes were cherry picked from his speech to create an inaccurate impression. So, for the sake of journalistic integrity, let fill in the dots for your first quote:

    “Mr. Speaker, while I oppose federal efforts to redefine marriage as something other than a union between one man and one woman, I do not believe a constitutional amendment is either a necessary or proper way to defend marriage.

    While marriage is licensed and otherwise regulated by the states, government did not create the institution of marriage. In fact, the institution of marriage most likely pre-dates the institution of government! Government regulation of marriage is based on state recognition of the practices and customs formulated by private individuals interacting in civil society. Many people associate their wedding day with completing the rituals and other requirements of their faith, thus being joined in the eyes of their church and their creator, not with receiving their marriage license, thus being joined in the eyes of the state.”
    http://www.ronpaullibrary.org/document.php?id=590

    Comment by Zack — July 20, 2007 @ 6:22 am
  30. Doug,

    I have been reading your posts for some time now. The clear observation is that you are a TROLL with an exclusive venue.

    You are uninformed.

    You make no attempt to inform yourself.

    You are needlessly inflamatory.

    Your posts are composed of threadbare reasonings leading to useless conclusions.

    Deeper research into your financial support exposes you as a “usefull idiot”.

    In short, you are a journalistic prostitute for the established party pimps. Eager to perform any journalistic act, no matter how abhorrent or perverse, for a few paper dollars.

    Enjoy the profits of your labors Doug. Those profits, like Federal Reserve dollars, are based on nothing and originate from a fraud.

    To all of the free thinkers who have invested their time posting on this site.

    The rule of thumb for trolls is applicable here.

    DO NOT FEED THEM.

    Boycott this puppet named Doug Mataconis, the site that hosts his diverstion, and the industries that finance his ruse.

    Have a nice day. Sincerely

    Mark

    Comment by Mark — July 20, 2007 @ 7:53 am
  31. Mark,

    I’m sorry if the fact that I disagree with you bothers you so much. I just think that defending freedom is more important than defending one person.

    And one other thing:

    Deeper research into your financial support exposes you as a “usefull idiot”.

    What the heck are you talking about ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — July 20, 2007 @ 8:00 am
  32. Ron Paul doesn’t want any government to make any law about marriage of any kind.

    However, he’s running for president of the federal government, and therefore doesn’t want to dictate to State governments what they can and cannot legislate in this regard. That is between them and their citizens, and should be dealt with according to their individual state constitutions.

    Ron Paul is pretty religious so he probably doesn’t like homosexuality much…just like he doesn’t like drugs but is probably the SINGLE MOST VOCAL opponent of drug prohibition.

    Doug, I see your concern. I have gay friends and I love them dearly and I would fight anyone who tried to prevent them from living their lives the way they want to.

    However, just because people who are heterosexual get tax breaks for being marries, doesn’t mean we should make the problem even WORSE by giving gay married people tax breaks. We should work backwards toward full liberty, where nobody gets special treatment from the government for their personal choices.

    Ron Paul wants the government’s only role in this regard to be a contract enforcer. If someone signs a contract that says “I will never have sex with anybody else” and signs it, and then breaks that rule, then the STATE government should be able to decide in the courts whether that person should have to pay some kind of penalty (like child support or whatever) upon breaking the contract…

    This is really a false worry. Ron Paul is about as far from a threat to homosexuals as you can get. He wants all people to be treated the same by the government. HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY BE LESS OF A BIGGOT?

    But thanks for an awesome conversation. Keep writing interesting posts!

    -Chad

    Comment by chad — July 20, 2007 @ 8:06 am
  33. You can find him at antiwar.com (Brandon Institute LIBERTARIAN/Ayn Rand)and he supports Ron Paul for many reasons. Why not call him out on the GAY issue? I’ve asked him to respond. I don’t know what he’s waiting for. Raimondo introduced RP to the audience at Maountain View, CA, Rally July 14. I would enjoy the debate, and I’m betting Raimondo would win.

    Comment by Jeanette Doney — July 20, 2007 @ 8:30 am
  34. “Bret, Actually, I’d be more likely to not vote for anyone at all”

    I have a question for Doug:

    How likely is a vote for “None of the Above” to be interpreted as anything but a null contribution at best, or tacit approval at worst? Half the population doesn’t vote. Whether they don’t due to apathy or principled abstention, isn’t the interpretation and effect the same?

    Comment by Dave — July 20, 2007 @ 8:44 am
  35. This is a statist v. non-statist issue–not a libertarian issue. As a left leaning voter concerning state issues I have no problem with Ron Paul’s stance on marriage. Remember, he is running for a federal position and he does not believe the federal government has the right to define marriage. He obviously believes in the traditional definition but wouldn’t force that definition.

    If you want to really hear Paul’s stance on gay marriage watch the google interview. He doesn’t believe the government should get involved in contracts between two individuals unless the contract has been violated or is in breach.

    Keep the federal government out of our lives. Vote Ron Paul.

    Comment by GeeDub — July 20, 2007 @ 8:54 am
  36. Amy:

    BRAVO!

    Ron Paul 2008!

    Comment by stanky — July 20, 2007 @ 9:59 am
  37. I think you guys are confused on both sides. Dr. Paul did not vote for the defense of marriage act because he is old fashioned, or because of his religious views. Why don’t you take a look at what the defense of marriage act actually is:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_Marriage_Act

    This is an act that gives the Federal Government sovereignty over individual state’s marriage laws. His personal opinion on the moral implications of gay marriage are irrelevant. Ron Paul is simply voting on principle, and that principle is the reduction of power in the Fed. He would have also voted against a Federal ban on gay marriage.

    I think if you would study what Ron Paul actually speaks about you would recognize that state’s rights are actually primary to protecting individual liberties. Yes, some states will ban abortion, gay rights, guns, while others will do the total opposite. In the end though, individuals have the choice of what state they live in, and they have a greater ability of affecting their states laws through voting. You have to also consider that free commerce will influence change on a national level. If Georgia legalizes sex shops, while Alabama bans it, Alabama would most likely change their position in the long run if Georgia were to flourish economically while Alabama suffered. Or vice-versa. The market is a better indicator of what people really want than big government. I think that’s Doctor Paul’s point.

    Comment by Dustin Timbrook — July 20, 2007 @ 11:03 am
  38. When I got married (I still am, btw) 24 years ago, I got the license three days before the wedding. My wedding day was the day I made vows with my wife in front of a minister and a church full of family and friends, not the day I signed that license. The fact that the state of Texas issued a license is not why I am married – that just lets them recognize it, as if it matters. It’s the vows taken, not the state approval.

    Take out the federal government’s involvement, and you can then fight at the state level to get them out of it too (or include other forms of civil unions), and if another state where you don’t live refuses to recognize your relationship… but your friends and family do… why do you care? Why grant that kind of authority over yourself to a state?

    If allowing gay “marriage” or civil unions turns out to be a good idea, other states will follow suit. No? In the meantime, you can move to a state that suits you.

    Comment by William — July 20, 2007 @ 11:09 am
  39. I’d agree with Mark above that this site has a habit of “damning with faint praise” by starting every RP related article with “RP is libertarian but on issue X he really is kinda non-libertarian” followed by half-truths and/or outright misrepresentations of RP’s positions (see Zack’s “fill in the blanks” comment above).

    RP is not “anti-gay”, he is for rebalancing of federal vs. state powers in favor of this states. For any issue such as abortion, gay marriage, marijuana, etc., this means that RP would accept states that either outlawed all three or legalized all three…it would not be up to the federal government to say one way or the other (barring a consitutional amendment). This doesn’t mean he supports/opposes all three in principle, just the separation of powers.

    Another point to make is that “rogue judges” are no friend of the people. First of all, they are at least as likely to roguely limit liberty as to roguely expand it, and secondly they are often unaccountable in elections so if they do make bad rulings, tough s— for you the voter.

    By the way, the unrelated comment that “NAFTA, CAFTA, and individual free trade agreements with nations like Israel have made foreign trade vastly more free” is an oversimplification. If NAFTA were truly about free trade rather than repackaged mercantalist politics, it would be two sentences long, not two-thousand(?)…sorry I didn’t have time to count them all.

    http://www.sice.oas.org/Trade/NAFTA/naftatce.asp

    Comment by Richard — July 20, 2007 @ 11:58 am
  40. I can see Doug is just as bad as republican or democrats. Why? It’s nearly always about Party issues. Well, take a look at this portion…

    Ron Paul is widely considered, rightfully so I would argue, to be the most libertarian candidate for President running in either party. At the same time, a few bloggers have raised questions about some of his public policy stands and whether they really are pro-liberty.

    He is talking about Party issues so in my view the libertians are just as bad about bitching about party issues. I noticed that Doug implies that NAFTA, CAFTA… Doug suggests Israel has become more free with such trade agreements. It’s just the opposite Israel has sought funding from the US at a record pace due to the fact consumer goods in Israel have not grown as expected… While it is true they have exported arms associated items their economy has only grown because we as a nation has added an enemies amount of cash injection into their economy… Now we cannot afford to continue this at all. Doug is flat our wrong on this issue.

    Doug, Paul is a supports the law of the land first apart from any party issues… The open border ideals of some libertarian’s is flat our scary. Why? It does not adhere to the law of the land… Open borders is in effect what we have now and now in border with little checks or balance… It’s our right to be free.

    I know for a fact that their are many libertarians who attend ADL meetings… How do I know this I have attended a few myself. When I considered the option to join forces with the ADL I was amazed they would not support fair and just causes which in effect hurt Israel. In my view the ADL doesn’t offer honest intentions for this reason I never supported the ADL after finding out some basic facts. However, many would be amazed with the number of elite members who support the ADL.

    So, Doug you are incorrect with your posting and frankly I’m tired of wasting my time to make my points on your post….. Within a doubt I support Dr. Paul 100%. We all need to support Paul with our donations and think outside fo the box to support him.

    If you have visited other postings by Doug a common theme is easily confirmed:

    1) He always offers a lukewarm support of Dr. Paul

    2) Often his facts are incorrect.

    In closing Doug also mentions the following “He has voted against every major free trade pact that has come before Congress and while his points about so-called “managed trade” are well taken, the fact remains that regimes like NAFTA, CAFTA, and individual free trade agreements with nations like Israel have made foreign trade vastly more free.”

    Doug have you actually read each one of the free trade agreements? If you have studied the agreements as I have and apply research you can determine very easily that the free trade agreement have resulted in part due to the trade imbalance and the demise of our own manufacturing.

    In closing please forgive grammer/spelling errors I have had a recent ocular event and it’s difficult to see at times.

    Comment by Darel99 — July 20, 2007 @ 12:05 pm
  41. Kip Esquire (the original author) is a fraud.

    I do not blame Doug Mataconis for not realizing this, because really, who investigates this sort of thing?

    But the fact of the matter is the following:

    #

    Absolutely terrible one sided description. The quotes were cherry picked from his speech to create an inaccurate impression. So, for the sake of journalistic integrity, let fill in the dots for your first quote:

    “Mr. Speaker, while I oppose federal efforts to redefine marriage as something other than a union between one man and one woman, I do not believe a constitutional amendment is either a necessary or proper way to defend marriage.

    While marriage is licensed and otherwise regulated by the states, government did not create the institution of marriage. In fact, the institution of marriage most likely pre-dates the institution of government! Government regulation of marriage is based on state recognition of the practices and customs formulated by private individuals interacting in civil society. Many people associate their wedding day with completing the rituals and other requirements of their faith, thus being joined in the eyes of their church and their creator, not with receiving their marriage license, thus being joined in the eyes of the state.”

    http://www.ronpaullibrary.org/document.php?id=590

    Doug, I am really really curious what you have to say in response to this. Do you still hold that Dr. Paul is in favor of Federal regulation of marriage?

    Well?

    Comment by Walker Pfost — July 20, 2007 @ 12:26 pm
  42. Wait a minute.

    We see an organization named to imply that it opposes taxes, but its leadership won’t let the most anti-tax candidate participate. That’s odd.

    And now we have a website named to imply that it supports Liberty, but it opposes the most Liberty-oriented candidate out there by damning him with faint praise (to borrow a cliche), and almost advocates not voting at all rather than voting for him. That’s odd, too.

    Hmmmmm. This means something, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Hmmmmmm.

    Comment by William — July 20, 2007 @ 12:27 pm
  43. Kip Esquire (the original author) is a fraud.

    I do not blame Doug Mataconis for not realizing this, because really, who investigates this sort of thing?

    But the just look at the given quotes in context with the rest of the speach:

    “Mr. Speaker, while I oppose federal efforts to redefine marriage as something other than a union between one man and one woman, I do not believe a constitutional amendment is either a necessary or proper way to defend marriage.

    While marriage is licensed and otherwise regulated by the states, government did not create the institution of marriage. In fact, the institution of marriage most likely pre-dates the institution of government! Government regulation of marriage is based on state recognition of the practices and customs formulated by private individuals interacting in civil society. Many people associate their wedding day with completing the rituals and other requirements of their faith, thus being joined in the eyes of their church and their creator, not with receiving their marriage license, thus being joined in the eyes of the state.”

    http://www.ronpaullibrary.org/document.php?id=590

    Doug, I am really really curious what you have to say in response to this. Do you still hold that Dr. Paul is in favor of Federal regulation of marriage?

    Well?

    Comment by Walker Pfost — July 20, 2007 @ 12:27 pm
  44. Thank you, Doug, for highlighting this obvious failing of Ron Paul’s libertarianism–a failing so stark that, in my view, it fatally negates any attempt to label him a libertarian and reveals him to be a panderer to the religous right, just like every other GOP candidate.

    Ditto for abortion. I disagree with you. Given the deep and reasonable ethical divisions among people over abortion, no libertarian has any business choosing sides on that question and mandating it as law rather than leaving it to the ethical decision of grown women. He says government should be in every woman’s uterus.

    Ron Paul is a libertarian only when it comes to government interference with the liberty of straight men, it seems to me. That’s not libertarianism; it’s self-absorption.

    Comment by Steve — July 20, 2007 @ 1:23 pm
  45. Yea, well, I’m married. To a woman. And, like, totally hetrosexual.

    Dude, that’s so gay.

    Comment by Joshua Holmes — July 20, 2007 @ 2:09 pm
  46. I strongly support Ron Paul because he is antiwar. voted against the Patriot Act, favors an end to the income tax, and opposes the War on Drugs. I don’t agree with him on everything – I think Roe vs Wade was an excellent constitutional decision, and I favor activist judges overturning bad law.

    But Ron Paul is consistent on his federalist stand on marriage. He made the statements you mention, but he has also voted against a federal amendment that would prohibit states from allowing same sex marriage. Former Congressman Bob Barr has a similar position; Barr sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act to say that states could refuse to recognize same sex marriages from other states, but he opposes prohibiting states from allowing same sex marriage.

    Comment by Gene Berkman — July 20, 2007 @ 2:38 pm
  47. Federally-mandated, state-sanctioned marriages are not “the right of homosexuals to live their lives as they choose.” There’s no reason the Federal Motherment should have anything to do with marriage. For that matter, there’s no reason the states should have anything to do with marriage. Liberty is not having to say “motherment may I?”

    So, if you want to fix “the marriage thing” don’t make it worse by asking the Fed to meddle in state affairs. Fix it by telling the states to get out of marriage.

    Comment by What's the frequency, Kenneth? — July 20, 2007 @ 2:47 pm
  48. I have an opinion on these issues but instead I’d like to say one thing:

    Isn’t it amazing how just the presence of Ron Paul in the Presidential race is getting people to think about and discuss the meaning of the Constitution again? I mean how long has it been since people really thought about alot of these issues. We’ve been so consumed with illegal wars and our rights being taken away that we haven’t even been able to focus on improving OUR country. Its so awesome how the focus shifts to domestic issues when we have someone who actually cares about them in a public role. Its clear that a Ron Paul presidency would shift the focus of the entire country to how best to run our OWN country again. And MAYBE we would actually be able to figure out the best way to protect ourselves from terrorism in the process.

    Comment by Thomas — July 20, 2007 @ 4:51 pm
  49. RP doesn’t want federal regulation of marriage. That’s probably the fairest, and most libertarian position you can have on the issue. And of course he is for individual rights, which includes gays. I mean this is all explained in the article that Doug uses as the basis of his hit piece, apparently he didn’t read it.

    Comment by brody — July 20, 2007 @ 5:45 pm
  50. Doug;

    You unproven presumptions that NAFTA ect really did make trade more free, or that “libertarians” are all for unlimited immigration, wreak of Statist Dogma, not organic libertarian instincts at the populist level, let alone the intellectual legel.

    In the past several weeks, you have cheered the coup d’etat in France that unleashed murder and chaos, and you have made clear your support for the 14th Amendment. You are a Leftist; your only real disagreement with the State is its various intusions into the marketplace, and yet you aren’t even a real contrarian as your critiques are minor and marginal. Maybe an occasional post that anyone who supports the income tax is a dirty Commie would make me feel a bit better about your intellectual honesty…

    Ron Paul’s success, to the extent he will have any, has nothing to do with French Revolution style ‘libertarians’, and everything to do with Culpepper Style Don’t Tread on Me libertarianism, with a healthy dose of radical localism. Folks who are playing games on the margins are the enemy, or at the min., they call themselves supporters but don’t show up on the donation pages. Go ahead and type my last name in over at the FEC.

    Comment by C Bowen — July 20, 2007 @ 6:52 pm
  51. Doug, Paul believes that gays have the same rights as anyone else. You misunderstand his statements about marriage. He believes the word “marriage” literally means a union between a man and a woman, but he doesn’t OPPOSE the union of a man and a man. Two men united together, though, in Dr. Paul’s view, would simply not be referred to as “marriage.”

    Comment by EarthboundBob — July 20, 2007 @ 9:14 pm
  52. Thank you, Doug, for highlighting this obvious failing of Ron Paul’s libertarianism–a failing so stark that, in my view, it fatally negates any attempt to label him a libertarian and reveals him to be a panderer to the religous right, just like every other GOP candidate.

    …He says government should be in every woman’s uterus.

    Ron Paul is a libertarian only when it comes to government interference with the liberty of straight men, it seems to me. That’s not libertarianism; it’s self-absorption.

    Comment by Steve — July 20, 2007 @ 1:23 pm

    I think this guy just likes to hear himself type… LOL

    Comment by js290 — July 20, 2007 @ 10:06 pm
  53. It seems to me that Ron Paul is not anti gay rights, he is anti federal intervention in changing things. I think if a state wanted to change its idea of marriage, Paul wouldn’t have a problem, but for the federal government to force conservative states to abandon their idea of marriage, is just as bad as forcing liberal states to conform to the conservative view. Let the states decide.

    Comment by Tim — July 21, 2007 @ 12:40 am
  54. It seems to me that Ron Paul is not anti gay rights…

    Actually, he is anti gay rights and any other group rights. But, he is very much for individual rights because as he pointed out in one of his recent interviews, the individual is the smallest minority. It’s an important distinction.

    Comment by js290 — July 21, 2007 @ 2:48 am
  55. It seems to me that there is a great deal of confusion on this issue both with respect to the controversy and to Ron Paul’s position. Of course, I cannot speak for Ron Paul on the subject, but I think his position is much more consistent than is being claimed.

    Gays do not have rights. I thought RP made this clear in the debates in his response to “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Only individuals have rights, groups do not.

    Marriage is, and always has been, defined in American legal tradition as a union of a man and a woman. Gays have as much right to marry as anyone else has. They just choose not to.

    The issue is not whether same-sex marriage should be a “right.” The issue is, “should we change the definition of marriage?”

    Why? Gay spokesmen insist that married people have many benefits that are unavailable to unmarried people and that discriminates against gays who want to live “as if” they are married but are unable to access these benefits.

    These benefits are incidental to the institution of marriage, however. Marriage was not instituted as a method of accessing government benefits. Furthermore, such benefits can be made available to single people (not just gays) without re-defining marriage.

    The real purpose behind legalizing gay marriage is to promote the social respectability of homosexuality by giving it a legal sanction.

    It is contrary to the role of a limited government , however, to enact legislation for the purpose of influencing the public’s opinion. On the contrary, government is supposed to respond to public opinion, not force such opinions onto the populace.

    In short, marriage is not a question of gay rights at all. It is about transforming the mores of the people. This is not a legitimate role of limited government. It is a role of totalitarian ones.

    The government, therefore, ought not to redefine marriage as gay organizations are demanding.

    This is my view of the subject. Ron Paul may not agree completely with this, but I think we share a similar mind-set. And this explains why RP can completely endorse free association while opposing gay marriage.

    There is only one area where I feel that RP may be a little inconsistent. He says states that do not have gay marriage should not have to recognize gay marriages performed in states which do recognize it. I don’t know how he squares this with the “full faith and credit” clause of the constitution.

    Perhaps he reconciles this on the grounds that marriage is, by definition, the union of a man and a woman. That, I believe, is what the Defense of Marriage Act was all about.

    In any case, I think it is important to remember that in accurate libertarian thought, gay’s cannot have rights. Membership in a group does not give you rights. Only individuals have rights.

    Comment by robert haley — July 30, 2007 @ 5:28 pm

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