In the wake of Friday's landmark Supreme Court ruling
to allow same-sex marriage nationwide, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says it is time to be more careful about the role of government in Americans' lives.
"While I disagree with Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, I believe that all Americans have the right to contract," the Republican senator and presidential candidate said in a Time opinion piece
Sunday. "The Constitution is silent on the question of marriage because marriage has always been a local issue. Our founding fathers went to the local courthouse to be married, not to Washington, D.C."
There are those who disagree with the Supreme Court ruling that say the court should not be overturning legislative majorities, but people who favor it say the 14th amendment protects rights from those majorities.
But, Paul said, "it seems some rights are more equal than others."
He said consenting adults have a right to enter in contracts, "in all economic and personal spheres," even though marriage "is more than just a simple contract."
But because the government "should not prevent people from making contracts" doesn't mean it "must confer a special imprimatur upon a new definition of marriage."
Nor, Paul said, does it mean there isn't a danger that a government that involves itself in people's lives won't enforce laws conflicting with religious convictions.
"I for one will stand ready to resist any intrusion of government into the religious sphere," said Paul, noting that he agrees with Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote in his dissent that "liberty has long been understood as individual freedom from governmental action, not as a right to a particular governmental entitlement.”
Government has always been involved in marriage, he said, including taxing it, regulating it, and now redefining it.
"It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right," he said.
The ruling leaves many questions, said Paul, including whether the government should care, or allocate benefits based on marital status, and whether the government can continue protecting liberty, especially religious liberty and free speech.
"The Constitution was written by wise men who were raised up by God for that very purpose," he said. "Ours was the first where rights came from our creator, and therefore could not be taken away by government."
But the nation has gotten "too far away from that idea" and must turn back, and to protect rights, "we must understand who granted them and who can help us restore them."
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