Gay Marriage

The GOP Reserves the Right to Screw With You, Especially When You're Not Hurting Anyone

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Today the Republican platform committee overwhelmingly rejected an amendment supporting civil unions for gay couples. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (right) presumably spoke for many when he said:

I oppose this amendment. I think the wording is too broad. Especially the last sentence: "As long as there are no infringements on the rights of others, it is not the role of government to judge." Well, our government routinely judges situations where you might regard people completely affecting themselves like, for example, the use of controlled substances, like, for example, polygamy that is voluntarily entered into. We condemn those activities even though they're not hurting other people, at least directly.

Mediaite columnist Andrew Kirell comments:

Right there Kobach explained, in a nutshell, the mainstream Republican worldview that has alienated libertarians for many years. It goes something like this: We support "liberty" and "freedom" to do as you please, so long as those activities aren't things we find to be yucky, abominable, or uncomfortable. In those cases, freedom does not exist.

It may offend many to hear a Republican official compare gay marriage to drugs and polygamy, but those activities all do have several things in common: they are victimless and they are voluntary.

And government has no business outlawing them.

The platform committee rejected a plea from a Nevada delegate who argued that "the freedom to marry is in line with our core belief in limited government and individual freedom" and quoted former Vice President Dick Cheney: "Freedom means freedom for everyone." Nor was it moved by Rhode Island's representative, who identified herself as a Roman Catholic and said: "There's nobody in this room who believes [more than I do] that the definition of marriage is between one man and one woman. But those are my religious beliefs, and this country was founded on the separation of church and state."

The GOP seems to be producing a platform that is more socially conservative than its presidential nominee. Mitt Romney (whose great-grandfather was a polygamist, though almost certainly not a pot-smoking polygamist) has said he supports "domestic partnerships" that would offer gay couples "the potential for health benefits and rights of survivorship" as well as the ability to jointly adopt children.