With public opinion seeming to move in favor of gay marriage (see my previous post), I guess it should be no surprise that politicians would be trimming their sails to the prevailing winds as well. Still, I was unhappy to hear the news that Governor Rick Perry took a libertarianish stance on the issue in remarks made at a Republican fundraiser last week. Commenting on the legalization of gay marriage in New York, he said this:
“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.”
As you can imagine, these remarks left a little bit to be desired for those who support the sanctity of marriage. And some even began questioning whether or not Perry could carry the banner for social conservatives at all. I think Governor Perry understands the backlash from his potential supporters and is himself now backtracking.
Tony Perkins interviewed Rick Perry today and took him to task on his remarks from last week. Listen to the audio or read the transcript below.[audio: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF11G77.mp3]
TONY PERKINS: You mentioned a moment ago the marriage amendment back in Texas, back in 2005 or, I think it was 2005.
GOV. PERRY: Yes sir, yes sir.
TONY PERKINS: In fact I was down there for a number of those pastors conferences. Worked with you on a couple of occasions as we were promoting that marriage amendment in Texas, so I know where you stand on the issue. But last week you were in Aspen, Colorado, at a Republican governor’s event, and you made some comments regarding New York’s recent passage of same-sex marriage. If I can, I want to quote those words from you that have been circulated, and give you a chance to respond to that.
GOV. PERRY: Sure
TONY PERKINS: You said that, “Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said that marriage can be between two people of the same sex and you know what that is New York and that is their business and that is fine with me, that is their call. If you believe in the tenth amendment, stay out of their business”.
GOV. PERRY: Let me just, I probably needed to add a few words after “that’s fine with me” its fine with me that the state is using their sovereign right to decide an issue. Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me, my stance had not changed. I believe marriage is a union between one man and one woman.
My record as governor of Texas reflects that — a very strong commitment to defending traditional marriage, including those efforts of Texas to pass the defense of marriage act, which you were at some of those events where we were promoting the people and state of Texas to go and defend traditional values.
And I might add it overwhelmingly was adopted by seventy-five percent of Texas voters. Again, my comment reflects my recognition that marriage and most issues of the family historically have been decided by the people at the state and local level. That is absolutely the state of law under our constitution.
TONY PERKINS: Well, I agree as an author of nation’s first convent marriage law in the state of Louisiana back when I was in office. I think marriage and family policy is best dealt with at the state level. But the tenth amendment — and I am a strong supporter. I fought the federal government on a number of issues when they were trying to force us to do things.
But when you look at what’s happening on marriage, the real fear is that states like New York will change the definition of marriage for Texas. At that point the states rights argument is lost.
GOV. PERRY: Right and that is the reason that the federal marriage amendment is being offered, it’s that small group of activist judges, and frankly a small handful, if you will, of states, and liberal special interests groups that intend on a redefinition of, if you will, marriage on the nation, for all of us, which I adamantly oppose.
Indeed to not pass the federal marriage amendment would impinge on Texas, and other states not to have marriage forced upon us by these activist judges and special interest groups.
Our constitution was designed to respect states including the amendment process. That is one of the beauties and why I talk about in my book “Fed Up” that we need as a nation to get back to really respecting our constitution and the tenth amendment in particular which allows the states to impede against each other, whether it is on taxes or regulations or litigation and create the economic environment.
But the overall constitutional protection, if you will, by and how we amend our United States Constitution to reflect the values of the nation as whole is very important. Balanced budget amendment, another one of those with all of the debt ceiling talk going on right now. The balanced budget amendment and clearly telling those people in Washington, “look your spending too much money, and one way we protect your human nature, which is to say yes to special interest groups, is to prohibit you from doing that by passing a balanced budget amendment.” And I hope we’ll do that, and I hope we also pass the federal marriage amendment as well.
TONY PERKINS: Governor, we are about out of time but I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I think I hear what you are saying. The support given what’s happening across the nation, the fear of the courts, the administration’s failure to defend the defense of marriage act.
The only and thin line of protection for those states that have defined marriage, that have been historically been defined between a man and a woman. The support of a marriage amendment is a pro-state’s rights position, because it will defend the rights of states to define marriage as it has been.
GOV. PERRY: Yes sir, and 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.
TONY PERKINS: Well Governor Perry I want to thank you from taking time out of your schedule to join us on Washington Watch Radio. I look forward to being with you in Houston, Texas, in Reliant Stadium I look forward to seeing you.
GOV. PERRY: It’s going to be a great day and I look forward to being with you, God speed to you and God bless you.
Governor Perry is acting like he wants to run for the Republican nomination for President. He’ll have to do better than this if he wants the enthusiastic support of his base.