Kirsten Andersen

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Rand Paul: Marriage not a defining Republican issue; GOP can ‘agree to disagree’

Kirsten Andersen
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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Senator Rand Paul told ABC News on Wednesday that he agreed with the Supreme Court decision striking down a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on the grounds that he believes marriage should be regulated by states, not the federal government. He praised the author of the decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy, for trying to “keep up with opinion” on the issue and said that members of the Republican Party would have to “agree to disagree” on the definition of marriage.

The Court's 5-4 ruling granted homosexual couples federal benefits, including tax breaks and entitlements, formerly reserved to heterosexual married couples, as long as the same-sex partners live in a state where same-sex “marriage” is legal.

Paul, who is widely expected to be a top contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, said that he felt Justice Kennedy's majority opinion “tried to strike a balance” and praised Kennedy as “someone who doesn’t just want to be in front of opinion but wants government to keep up with opinion.”

“As a country, we can agree to disagree,” said Paul.

Sen. Paul’s spokesman, Doug Stafford told LifeSiteNews.com on Thursday that, while Paul personally believes in “traditional marriage between one man and one woman,” he also “believes the issue is a state issue and not a federal one.”

He also waded into an intraparty dispute on whether to cling to marriage or abandon it – and its supporters. The 2012 Republican Party platform states that “marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard.”

Stafford said Paul does not believe the GOP should change its platform to accommodate social liberals. He does, however, feel it should be more open to accepting them into its ranks.

Senator Paul “believes we have to be a party that tolerates dissent, or rather, agree to disagree with some in our own party,” Stafford told LifeSiteNews. “He does not believe our party will or should change itself on these issues. We shouldn't suddenly try to be a pro-choice or pro-gay marriage party.”

However, Stafford said the senator believes the Republican Party “can be more tolerant and inclusive on [social] issues.”

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Stafford added that those who would prefer that marriage be preserved at the national level “should think long and hard if that is a good idea and whether or not you can win there.”

Stafford told LifeSiteNews that Sen. Paul's comments on Kennedy's decision were meant to offer “a silver lining” and not a full endorsement.

“Public opinion has no role in constitutional interpretation,” Stafford said of the senator’s beliefs. “He was saying that often the judiciary jumps ahead of public opinion, [and] that this really didn’t do that. Also, that the ruling left open for states to have traditional marriage as their standard.”

Senator Paul said that Justice Kennedy did not start a “culture war” by forcing gay nuptials on the 37 states that have enacted bans.

However, most pro-family leaders, representing a vital component of 2016 primary voters, felt the decision represented a particularly stinging loss in the culture war.

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