The GOP presidential wannabes who pledged to fight to keep marriage between one man and one woman at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition forum may have boxed themselves in a corner, should the Supreme Court find a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Campaigning for a constitutional amendment will seem extreme to those outside the hardcore religious right.
But Cruz, Huckabee, Santorum and Jindal seemed to promise to lead an ongoing fight against marriage equality, come hell or high water.
Gov. Scott Walker said: “I still hold out hope that the Supreme Court will rule, as has been the tradition in the past, that the states are the places that get to define what marriage is. If for some reason they don’t … I believe it’s reasonable for the people of America to consider a constitutional amendment that would affirm the ability of states to do just that.”
Marco Rubio reiterated his opposition to same sex marriage, saying: “Marriage as an institution existed before even government itself,” and that “The institution of marriage as between one man and one woman existed even before our laws existed.” But he stopped short of saying how he’d respond if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality.
And Rand Paul, who has previously tried to appeal to the pastors by stressing his personal opposition to same-sex marriage, didn’t mention the issue at all in his 15-minute presentation, during which he made a powerful appeal to protect constitutional liberties. His libertarian supporters—who are distinct from many (not all) of the tea party people and often at odds with the religious right—didn’t like his unlibertarian marriage comments, and this could be a welcomed recalibration. (Paul also was one of 10 GOP senators who last week supported an LGBT-inclusive measure to protect homeless youth.)
Jeb Bush chose not to attend. That might not play well in the Iowa GOP caucuses, but could serve him best in a general election, should he win the nomination.