When Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was elected with the storm of Tea Party candidates, I admit I was cautiously optimistic. Timed perfectly with his father’s departure from the House, it looked like friends of liberty had a good person on whom to depend to keep their ideals alive in Congress.
He has been a disappointment ever since.
Most recently, Rand Paul said in an interview that he “didn’t understand same sex marriage.” According to The Raw Story:
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who describes himself as a libertarian, said Wednesday that he opposed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) because it could unintentionally result in same-sex marriage becoming legal.
“I believe in traditional marriage,” he said during an interview with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. “I really don’t understand any other kind of marriage. Between a man and a woman is what I believe in, and I just don’t think it is good for us to change the definition of that.”
In this, Rand Paul shows us two things: He doesn’t understand marriage, and he doesn’t understand libertarianism.
Marriage is—at least in so far as the state is concerned—a bundle of contracts that two people agree to. These contracts allow two people to share property rights, share potential children (biological or adopted), decide next-of-kin, to share health benefits, etc. That is what marriage is in our culture and, inequities between genders aside, is what it always has been.
The fact that those two people are the same gender in no way makes them incapable of doing any of those things or engaging in any of the other hundreds of contracts that constitute a marriage in our society. If Senator Rand Paul can’t wrap his head around that, then it’s clear he just doesn’t understand marriage at all.
His position also shows that he doesn’t understand the libertarianism he claims to adopt. At the core of libertarianism is voluntary association between consenting adults. Allowing the state to interfere in that right is contrary to the nature of liberty. And, no, it doesn’t matter if that government is federal, state, or local. It’s still depriving people of their liberty, and supporting that at any level is antithetical to freedom.
So, no, Rand Paul. You don’t understand marriage. You don’t understand libertarianism. It’s time for you to just call yourself what you are: republican (a good one, yes, but still a republican). Ah, but then you wouldn’t be able to hop on the libertarian bandwagon your father started, would you?