Kentucky Senator Rand Paul spoke to the ongoing controversy in his home state involving Kim Davis. The Rowan County clerk is refusing to issue all marriage licenses because of her opposition to same-sex marriage on religious grounds. Paul, a Republican presidential contender, praised Davis for standing up for her beliefs, but also said he felt government should not be involved in licensing marital unions.
According to The Washington Post, Paul told Boston Herald Radio in an interview that “I think people who do stand up and are making a stand to say that they believe in something is an important part of the American way.”
But Paul has also been fairly consistent in his position as far as decreasing the level of government involvement in licensing marriages. He pointed out that conflicts like the one involving Davis could be avoided if the role of the government as a third party to a contract — such as a marriage — were eliminated.
“I think one way to get around the whole idea of what the Supreme Court is forcing on the states is for states just to get out of the business of giving out licenses,” Paul said. “Alabama has already voted to do this, they’re just no longer going to give out licenses. And anybody can make a contract. And then if you want a marriage contract you go to a church. And so I’ve often said we could have gotten around all of this also in the sense that I do believe everybody has a right to a contract.”
The Alabama bill that Paul referenced, which would have replaced marriage licenses with a contract, was approved by the state Senate in May but defeated by an Alabama House committee in June. If it had been approved, any two people would have been able to craft a legal contract between themselves, while those people wishing to obtain a marriage could do so through a private religious ceremony.
“There never should have been any limitations on people of the same sex having contracts, but I do object to the state putting its imprimatur to the specialness of marriage on something that’s different from what most people have defined as marriage for most of history,” Paul told the Herald. “So one way is just getting the state out completely and I think that’s what we’re headed towards, actually. Whether or not people who still work for the state can do it without the legislature changing it is something I’m going to leave up to the courts exactly how to do it.”