Jennifer Rubin applauds Rand Paul’s remarks on gay marriage and tells social conservatives to pay attention:
As much as I disagree with Rand Paul on his larger vision on foreign policy, he is worth heeding on marriage. Americans have not bought into the “traditional marriage” advocates (presumably high divorce rates in heterosexual marriages are none of their business?), most especially the claim that same-sex marriage “harms” other marriages. (I confess to never having understood that argument.) Paul is dead right: It is time for conservatives to move on and start focusing on issues that are properly the concern of elected leaders and on which the public actually wants government to act.
This in response to an interview with National Review in which Paul called for civil unions that would give same-sex partners benefits without redefining marriage:
I’m not going to change who I am or what I believe in. I am an old-fashioned traditionalist. I believe in the historical definition of marriage. That being said, I think contracts between adults — I’m not for limiting contracts between adults. In fact, if there are ways to make the tax code more neutral where it doesn’t mention the word marriage, then we don’t have to redefine what marriage is. We just don’t have marriage in the tax code. If health benefits are a problem, why don’t we not define them by marriage? Why don’t we say, you have another adult who lives in the house, and a kid who lives in the house can be part of family coverage? Then you don’t have to redefine, and have people like myself, and people who live in the Southeastern part of the country, we don’t have to change our definition of what we think marriage is, but we allow contracts to occur so there is more ability to [make] the law neutral.
If Paul’s remarks seem novel to Rubin, it’s only because she hasn’t been paying attention. As early as 2009, Robert P. George, Ryan T. Anderson, and Sherif Girgis—hardly squishes in the gay marriage debate—had all expressed openness to a form of civil union that could fit with what Paul describes.
These unions would be “available to any two adults who commit to sharing domestic responsibilities, whether or not their relationship is sexual. Available only to people otherwise ineligible to marry each other (say, because of consanguinity), these unions would neither introduce a rival ‘marriage-lite’ option nor treat same-sex unions as marriages. Their purpose would be to protect adult domestic partners who have pledged themselves to a mutually binding relationship of care. What (if anything) goes on in the bedroom would have nothing to do with these unions’ goals or, thus, eligibility requirements.”
Rubin wants social conservatives to listen to Rand Paul; she first should try listening to social conservatives. It certainly seems that Rand Paul has been.