- The Washington Times - Monday, June 29, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says that while he disagrees with the Supreme Court’s “redefinition of marriage,” he believes all Americans have the “right to contract” but that perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not “governmental recognition of marriage” is a good idea.

“I acknowledge the right to contract in all economic and personal spheres, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a danger that a government that involves itself in every nook and cranny of our lives won’t now enforce definitions that conflict with sincerely felt religious convictions of others,” Mr. Paul, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, wrote in an opinion piece for Time published on Sunday.

“Some have argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling will now involve the police power of the state in churches, church schools, church hospitals,” Mr. Paul wrote. “This may well become the next step, and I for one will stand ready to resist any intrusion of government into the religious sphere.”

The 2016 GOP presidential field has offered differing opinions on the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling on gay marriage, with people like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush reaffirming his support of traditional marriage while calling for respect and protecting religious freedom.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, said he would not “acquiesce to an imperial court,” for example.

Mr. Paul wrote that “perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party.”

“The government should not prevent people from making contracts but that does not mean that the government must confer a special imprimatur upon a new definition of marriage,” he wrote.

“Since government has been involved in marriage, they have done what they always do — taxed it, regulated it, and now redefined it,” he wrote. “It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right.”

Mr. Paul said the 14th Amendment does not command the government endorsement conveyed by the word “marriage” and state legislatures are entitled to express a preference for traditional marriage, “so long as the equal rights of same-sex couple are protected.”

“So the questions now before us are: What are those rights? What does government convey along with marriage, and should it do so? Should the government care, or allocate any benefits based on marital status?” he wrote. “And can the government do its main job in the aftermath of this ruling — the protection of liberty, particularly religious liberty and free speech?”

“We shall see,” he continued. “I will fight to ensure it does both, along with taking part in a discussion on the role of government in our lives.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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