If you have to vote for a Republican in the rapidly-approaching primaries, make it John McCain or Fred Thompson. These two presidential hopefuls stand apart from their political peers. While most of the GOP candidates have called for a federal ban on gay marriage – and Rudy pussyfoots around domestic partnerships – McCain and Thompson tacitly support state-endorsed gay nuptials.
In a well-publicized discussion last week, former Tennessee Senator Thompson told voters that he would back any state legislature that votes for gay marriage. “So be it” became the most popular headline for the accompanying video, on which Thompson says: “If a state chose to recognize [same-sex marriage] and the governor signed off and signed it into legislation, ‘so be it.'”
McCain, meanwhile, says that while he’d elect judges who will protect “traditional” family, he can’t argue with state’s rights. His campaign’s “Human Dignity” section reads:
As president, John McCain would nominate judges who understand that the role of the Court is not to subvert the rights of the people by legislating from the bench. Critical to Constitutional balance is ensuring that, where state and local governments do act to preserve the traditional family, the Courts must not overstep their authority and thwart the Constitutional right of the people to decide this question.
The family represents the foundation of Western Civilization and civil society and John McCain believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman.
As with most issues vital to the preservation and health of civil society, the basic responsibility for preserving and strengthening the family should reside at the level of government closest to the people. In their wisdom, the Founding Fathers reserved for the States the authority and responsibility to protect and strengthen the vital institutions of our civil society.
Neither John McCain and Fred Thompson believe gays deserve the right to marry. They do, however, uphold one of conservatism’s cornerstones: federalism.
For the last four decades or so, the American conservative has used federalism as a way to curb centralized government. The Republicans and their ideological colleagues believe a big government can only lead to trouble. In supporting an inherently unequal federalism, McCain and Thompson admit that at least some gay Americans deserve equal rights. It’s for this reason that they’re the most gay-friendly Republican presidential candidates. These men’s concept of gay rights, however, depends largely on geographical location.
McCain and Thompson will only support equal rights if a state legislature thinks their citizens deserve it. That’s certainly not the type of president we would want sitting in the White House. A true American – politicians or pedestrian – supports universal, national marriage rights. Anything less is, well, unAmerican. It’s for that reason that McCain and Thompson do not deserve your vote. Of course, they’re hardly gunning for it. Their “soft” stance on gay marriage isn’t for gay marriage at all, but for federalism. They believe supporting state rights will give them the conservative votes they need to win the White House.
Unfortunately for them – and the rest of the Republicans – the conservative base crumbled long ago.