Ron Paul and Gary Johnson have joined
Fred Karger as the three GOP presidential candidates not openly
hostile to gay marriage.
While the 76-year-old Paul has said he
personally believes marriage is between one man and one woman, he's
also stated that he believes the government should “butt out” of
the marriage business.
“That's my ideal – just butt out,”
Paul told the Des Moines Register's editorial board.
“If you want to define it [marriage]
one way and me another, that sounds like a first amendment issue.
Why should I try to convince you of my definition? Or why do I want
someone else to impose their ideas on me and make me accept their
definition? So I want the government out. If you're going to have
government under the constitution, the states have a lot more
authority than the federal government has to define it. I'd rather
see it be outside of government and then we would not be arguing
This week, Gary Johnson went further.
The former New Mexico governor endorsed gay marriage.
“As a believer in individual freedom
and keeping government out of personal lives, I simply cannot find a
legitimate justification for federal laws, such as the Defense of
Marriage Act, which 'define' marriage. That definition should be
left to religions and individuals – not government. Government's
role when it comes to marriage is one of granting benefits and rights
to couples who choose to enter into a marriage 'contract.' As I have
examined this issue, consulted with folks on all sides, and viewed it
through the lens of individual freedom and equal rights, it has
become clear to me that denying those rights and benefits to gay
couples is discrimination, plain and simple,” Johnson said Thursday
during an online town hall.
Karger – America's first openly gay candidate for president –
is actively involved in the issue of gay marriage in his home state
Leading Republican candidates Mitt
Romney, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and
Michele Bachmann have each endorsed banning gay marriage.
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has
said he does not support a constitutional amendment banning gay
marriage. Yet as governor he supported Utah's ban. And recently he
described the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as a “safeguard”
that allows states to decide on marriage. Huntsman supports civil
unions for gay and lesbian couples.