Thursday night's debate among a small group of Republicans failed to attract the heavy-hitting politicians who are vying for the party's nomination for president next year, but that didn't stop Rep. Ron Paul for riling up the crowd on heroin, prostitution, and gay marriage.
Paul was asked whether his libertarian views on such controversial issues -- mainly his belief that personal liberties should not be encroached upon by the federal government -- could help him attract socially conservative voters. Paul said he believes that states should have the right to legalize gay marriage, marijuana, and prostitution if they choose to do so.
"If you do not protect liberty across the board, it's a First Amendment-type issue," he said. "We don't have a First Amendment so we can talk about the weather. We have the First Amendment so we can say very controversial things. So, for people to say that, 'Yes, we have our religious beliefs protected, but people who want to follow something else, or a controversial religion -- you can't do this' ... if you have the inconsistency, then you're really not defending liberty. But there are strict rules on freedom of choice of this sort, because you can't hurt other people, you can't defame other people, but yes, you have a right to do things that are very controversial. If not, you're going to end up with a government that can tell you what to eat or drink or whatever."
Gay conservative group GOProud released a statement in support of Paul and the other politicians seeking the party's nomination.
"[We] thank Congressman Ron Paul for rightly making the case that marriage and family laws should be decided at the state level, not by the politicians in Washington," the organization said Friday.