Last week the US Supreme Court ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriage. How did they come to this decision and was it correct? Who decides?
Ron Paul: Hello everybody, and thank you for tuning in to The Liberty Report. Daniel McAdams is with me today, who is the executive director of the Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Daniel, welcome to the program.
Daniel McAdams: Thanks, Dr. Paul, it’s good to be with you.
Ron Paul: Well, what do you think is the big issue right now, did anything happen this past week, or were there several things that happened this past week?
Daniel McAdams: There was a lot that happened, we had the Obama Care decision, which you wrote about in your weekly column this week, which was big news. I think the bigger news that we were going to talk about today is the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage. It’s interesting because back when you were in office, we did a lot of Thursday Lunches with the separation of powers. We had Lewis Fisher, who is a great expert on this, and we talked about the different branches of government. I was really interested in the way this decision was presented in the media, that the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.
Ron Paul: The one headline that I saw was, “Same Sex Marriage: Is it right?”, and for a long time I’ve been saying this, and I might have to change my speech, but I get a good response when I talk to a crowd of people who have some bit of an understanding about rights, saying that rights do not come from our government, rights come to us in a natural or God given way. And people say yes. But here, all of a sudden, same sex marriage is a right declared not by the Congress or the supreme court, but really by one individual in the Supreme Court in a 5 to 4 ruling, and all of a sudden, this is a new right. But when people hear us talking like that, they say, “Oh, they’re against the ruling and that means they’re bigots”, and all these things that people want to pin on us. But there’s a lot more to it than just that. for instance, I think it raises the issue of licensing, what they’re really talking about is license to get married. They’re changing how you get a license, the Federal Courts are over ruling what states have done and, in many ways, they’re changing the definition of marriage, which seems to be way beyond anything that governments are supposed to do. Matter Of fact, I’m convinced that much of this maybe could have been prevented by having a lot of less laws in the land.
Daniel McAdams: Seems like both sides have it wrong; the supporters of traditional families seem to have it wrong, and the pro same-sex marriage people seem to have it wrong.
Ron Paul: Yes, because I don’t think we should be involved in it. I see marriage as a sacrament, but not everybody wants to see it as a sacrament. But why is the government involved in a sacrament and say, “Okay, we’re going to have a license for you to participate in a sacrament”. Baptism, for many in this country, is still a sacrament, but we don’t go out and get a license. The question comes up, why have we succumbed to this to accept this idea that none of us can get married. I would assume you probably have a license, I certainly had a license, it was assumed, no questions asked. But that’s not the way it’s been for a long time. Looking into this, I found out that there are many that defend the position that this came about from the civil war, it came about because racism existed, and it came out because they wanted to prevent blacks marrying whites. That particular understanding was reversed in 1967 by the Supreme Court. It isn’t so much that the court is supposed to sort this thing out. If we lived in a libertarian and free society, that would be out of the way and you would be allowed to make up your own definition: do whatever you want as long as you didn’t exert aggression against somebody else. And those who believe in traditional marriage could have their traditional marriage and get married in the church, and those who want a secular marriage can do that too. But I don’t think we’re anywhere close to that today.
Daniel McAdams: The pro-traditional marriage people say that this will ruin marriage, this will undermine marriage. We were talking before the show and you mentioned a couple of interesting statistic about so called traditional marriage. You said 57% of millennials have their children out of wedlock, more than half of the pregnancies result in abortions, and we know that well more than half of marriages end in divorce. So it seems like traditional marriages are doing a pretty good job of destroying traditional marriage.
Ron Paul: I think this is an issue, matter of fact, I have even made the case that abortion is not legalistic in that you’re going to make a moral society. You can have laws regarding it because there’s a killing going on, but it doesn’t change anything. I think the courts are very, very political, people say, “They don’t have to be political because they have life time tenures”, but they are very political even during the abortion debates. Abortions were done wholesale in the 1960s, so the courts had to catch up, and in a way the courts are sort of catching up now with this. The whole point is that they can’t change anything, you can’t change a culture by legislation, so that’s why libertarians will make the point that if there’s no violence involved, don’t try to micro-manage this. So who’s right, who has the control of the definition. In a libertarian society, nobody does, but here, I think the people who believe in traditional marriage fall short in traditional marriages when they have a chance. But they shouldn’t go to the government and tell the government, “You are going to define it my way”, even though they might have a historical argument for that. At the same time, the secular people want to march in and say, “No, that’s exclusive”, I think so often we bring on so many problems and, to tell you the truth, I don’t think this is going to end. There have been people who suggest that this is just opening up the door for more and more problems, because there is an exclusion and it’s a religious exclusion. If it’s against your religious beliefs and they sort of did this with abortion, and I saw times when you as residents were forced to be involved, but eventually they said that if you had a personal objection to it then you didn’t have to participate, and that’s what they’re saying here. But I think you’re going to have lots of problems, possibly even in the military, who knows what might happen in the military.
Daniel McAdams: The Chaplains may be forced to do it against their will.
Ron Paul: Yes, and there could be problems in college campuses, we still have some religious colleges that will talk about mandatory dorm regulations. I think this ruling was a defeat for the constitution and a defeat for liberty, because both sides are rejecting the libertarian approach, they’re just arguing who gets to do this and that, and I think it’s a victory for big government. There was a time when I’ve tried to sort out judicial review, and we might do a program some day on this. Even Jefferson and Hamilton argued about how much review should be there, and even back then some argued that the courts should not even have the right to review congressional laws. But today it is epidemic. The Supreme Court believes they can rule on anything and everything, be it state rules, regulations, or politically correct ideas. And now they’re ruling and saying, “We are the arbitrator, we will say what marriage is”. You know they gave Kennedy some credit for saying some nice words about people who are in love have a right to come together and be a unit. But if love is the thing that brings us together, the argument can be made from maybe a legalistic viewpoint, that what if 3 or 4 people are in love. Are you going to be the arbitrator of who loves who? So, therefore, there’s going to be an expansion. I think it’s going to invite a lot more problems, and it’s not going to be solved just with this.
Daniel McAdams: As you say, popular perception is that the Supreme Court is the final verdict on these things, and the media presents it that way, I think people even think that way. We’ve had several guests in the old days on the luncheons who have said that that’s an absolutely crazy thought.
Ron Paul: In principle, I’ve challenged this whole idea of getting a license for a sacrament. But I challenge the principle of licensing everything, because a license is almost always used to exclude people. I’ve already mentioned it was used initially to exclude interracial marriages, so it was an exclusion. But if you have a license to be a plumbers, and say that plumbers have to have licenses, what are you doing? You’re excluding somebody else? Why doesn’t the customer decide whether he’s a plumber or not, or let his reputation or what his promises are decide whether he’s a plumber or not. But no, if you give them a license, then you have this cab drivers. Right now, there are some challenges to the licensing of cab drivers. But there is licensing of everything, and even if I argued the case that the states should not be involved in all this licensing, now it’s federal, which makes it more complicated. I want people to get back to the point of asking how is this compared to a libertarian society. This is more complex, because it’s always government: who’s going to get control of the government? Then you get intervention in economic policy: how are we going to take care of the poor? They say, “Well, we’ll take from this group and give it to this group and we’ll fix wages”, and all these things, rather than saying, “Maybe the poor could be taken care of better if we had a free society and sound money”. This is why I’m so strongly annoyed with all this, because it assume that this is a responsibility of government, and I do not believe that is the case. This is just mischief and there’s a lot of attention towards it, and I think it’s pretty amazing that there’s a lot to be said about the need for traditional marriage. But none of this stuff is going other help traditional marriage, matter of fact, it emphasis so much that the people who believe in traditional marriages are going the wrong way. We need to clean up our act and find out what traditional marriage is all about. In the same way, with the abortion issue, there are some people who are arguing that the abortion rate is somewhat down. But I was thinking, maybe that is good, maybe education is good, but who knows what is the real reason. Divorce rates may be down because people aren’t getting married. But these kind of things should be solved in a voluntary society, and of course, this society would be more peaceful, because if you want to be part of the freedom movement, you have one very, very strict rule. And that is the rejection of the use force, personal force, or legal force, by the government to do certain things. And, of course, it means you have to be tolerant of other people’s choices, you shouldn’t be too tolerant of government’s use of force, that is what we should be intolerant of.
Anyway, I’d like to thank everybody for tuning in today to The Liberty Report, and please come back soon.
This video was published by the Ron Paul Institute.