U.S. senator and Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul has given measured support to fellow Kentuckian Kim Davis, a county clerk who’s defying the Supreme Court by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Davis’s refusal, based on her religious objections to same-sex marriage, is rooted in American freedom, Paul told the Boston Herald’s radio operation during a campaign swing through New England Monday.
“I think people who do stand up and are making a stand to say that they believe in something is an important part of the American way,” Paul said.
Paul reiterated a point he’s made often, that the way to offer same-sex couples relationship recognition is to let them make a “contract,” while saying marriage should be reserved for opposite-sex couples.
“I think one way to get around the whole idea of what the Supreme Court is forcing on the states is for states just to get out of the business of giving out licenses,” he said. He asserted incorrectly that Alabama has adopted this approach, then said, “Anybody can make a contract. And then if you want a marriage contract you go to a church.”
“There never should have been any limitations on people of the same sex having contracts, but I do object to the state putting its imprimatur to the specialness of marriage on something that’s different from what most people have defined as marriage for most of history,” he added. “So one way is just getting the state out completely and I think that’s what we’re headed towards, actually. Whether or not people who still work for the state can do it without the legislature changing it is something I’m going to leave up to the courts exactly how to do it.”
Paul did not mention the First Amendment Defense Act, a piece of federal legislation he’s cosponsored, which would allow federal employees, along with private businesses, nonprofits, and their employees, to opt out of providing services that conflict with their religious beliefs, without penalty, notes The Washington Post, which has a summary of the interview here; you can listen to the full segment below.
Meanwhile, another Republican seeking the presidential nomination, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, today told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that Davis should, “as a public official, comply with the law or resign.”
When Hewitt asked if there was any “middle ground,” Graham responded, “The rule of law is the rule of law. That’s what we are. We are a rule of law nation, and I appreciate her conviction. I support traditional marriage, but she’s accepted a job where she has to apply the law to everyone. And that’s her choice.” Listen to a clip below.