ASPEN, Colorado, July 25, 2011 ( – Potential GOP presidential contender and Texas Governor Rick Perry has stated that while he supports defending traditional marriage as the union of a man and a woman, he believes that U.S. states must come to their own decision without interference from the federal government.


“I’m pro-traditional marriage,” Perry told a group of GOP governors and donors at the Aspen Institute, in Aspen, Colorado last Friday. “The fact is, we passed a constitutional amendment in the state of Texas that says marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Perry, however, noted that lawmakers in New York recently legalized same-sex “marriage,” a statute that took effect this past weekend, saying, “That’s their call.”

“Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me.”

“If you believe in the 10th amendment, stay out of their business if you live in some other state or particularly if you’re the federal government.”

Perry’s defense of states deciding the definition of marriage provoked disappointment from some conservatives and pro-traditional marriage advocates.

“I realize that Rick Perry is a big state’s rights’ guy, but that is a fascinatingly shocking thing for someone supposedly running for the Republican nomination to say, and the weekend a new definition of marriage debuted in the state of New York,” stated Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online in a post. “Seems to be conflict with the idea that he would be an obvious choice for social conservatives.”

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum jumped on Perry’s statements in a Twitter post asking, “So Gov Perry, if a state wanted to allow polygamy or if they chose to deny heterosexuals the right to marry, would that be OK too?”

However, Perry has his defenders. Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post asserted that the Texas governor’s stance is consistent with the states’ rights approach that pro-life groups have been using in an attempt to shake off the federal court-imposed legalization of abortion on all 50 U.S. states.

“If conservatives really believe courts should not ‘make up’ rights unspecified in the Constitution and should let elected entities decide public policy, then it seems Perry’s position is not only practical but also intellectually consistent,” said Rubin.

In an interview Sunday with the New Hampshire Sunday News, Perry again defended the Tenth Amendment approach to the debate over marriage, saying that while Texas passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, it is likewise “New York’s prerogative” to define marriage to include same-sex couples.

However, he also offered a contrast to other political leaders that have said they separate their faith from their lives as public servants.

“I can no sooner separate my public life from my values — I can’t do that,” Perry said.

Perry asserted he was “a full-throated unapologetic fiscal conservative”, and “an unapologetic social conservative” both “pro-life” and “pro-traditional marriage.”