CNN staged what they called a "debate" but which was really just a joint press conference for various Republican presidential candidates. None of them were asked very serious questions or challenged in any way, but despite this a few of them managed to reveal some interesting information -- including information on the subject of gay marriage.
It will come as no surprise that the views of these Republican presidential candidates on gay marriage are confused, contradictory, and just plain spiteful.
The CNN transcript:
BACHMANN: Well, I do believe in the 10th Amendment and I do believe in self-determination for the states.
I also believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. I carried that legislation when I was a senator in Minnesota, and I believe that for children, the best possible way to raise children is to have a mother and father in their life.
Now, I didn't come from a perfect background. My parents were divorced. And I was raised by a single mother. There's a lot of single families and families with troubled situations.
So, Michelle Bachmann believes that the best way to raise children is with a mother and father, but admits that she herself wasn't. So what does that say about her own upbringing?
It might be respectable for a politician to personally object to something (like gay marriage) while being willing to let states decide what to do about it. Bachmann went first on this question, though, and the other presidential candidates expressed their opposition to states' rights on this matter (Republicans often adopt an anti-states-rights position whenever it involves something they dislike) so Bachmann had to ask to be allowed to speak again:
BACHMANN: John, I do support a constitutional amendment on -- on marriage between a man and a woman, but I would not be going into the states to overturn their state law.
Michelle Bachmann believes in "self-determination for the states," but after others pander to the far right even more than her she also says she believes in a constitutional amendment that would prohibit "self-determination" on this issue. It's a contradiction, plain as day, but it's even more plain as an example of pathetic pandering because she's saying two opposite things in order to appeal to different Republican groups.
Apparently, Republican voters aren't smart enough to recognize that when the Constitution bans something, that automatically nullifies any state laws allowing it -- which is to say, the state laws are effectively overturned.
PAWLENTY: I support a constitutional amendment to define marriage between a man and woman. I was the co-author of the state -- a law in Minnesota to define it and now we have courts jumping over this.
It's no surprise that Tim Pawlenty is just as opposed to individual liberty and equality in marriage as he is opposed to protecting citizens from government imposed or promoted religion. Pawlenty doesn't believe in liberty and equality for all; Pawlenty believes in Christian Supremacism: the official establishment of Christianity as supreme in culture, politics, etc.
PAUL: The federal government shouldn't be involved. I wouldn't support an amendment. But let me suggest -- one of the ways to solve this ongoing debate about marriage, look up in the dictionary. We know what marriage is all about.
But then, get the government out of it. Why doesn't it go to the church? And why doesn't it to go to the individuals? I don't think government should give us a license to get married. It should be in the church.
Many people seem to be impressed with Ron Paul's intellect, but I'd argue that it's a sign of a weak intellect to think that a debate can begin and end with a dictionary. This is especially true when a debate involves complex cultural issues like marriage, equality, and gay rights. We most definitely do not "know what marriage is all about" simply from looking in a dictionary.
You'd have to be rather ignorant and/or stupid to not be aware of the fact that marriage has been defined and structured in a lot of different ways through human history or to imagine that how Christians currently think of marriage is the only possible or reasonable way to think of it.
Yet that seems to be exactly where Ron Paul is.
GINGRICH: Well, I helped author the Defense of Marriage Act which the Obama administration should be frankly protecting in court. I think if that fails, at that point, you have no choice except to (ph) constitutional amendment. ...
SANTORUM: Constitutional amendment. Look, the constitutional amendment includes the states. Three-quarters of the states have to -- have to ratify it. So the states will be involved in this process. We should have one law in the country with respect to marriage. There needs to be consistency on something as foundational as what marriage is.
Of course the other Republicans favor a constitutional amendment to prohibit equality. Conservative Christians like them fought politically to prevent others from being their equals many times throughout American history and today gays are just their current target. Soon gays will be fully equally anyway and conservative Christians will find someone else to hate and discriminate against.