Rick Perry's Confusing Stance On Marriage Equality And States' Rights

Earlier this summer presidential candidate Michele Bachmann raised eyebrows with her incoherent argument that she supports the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would ban same-sex marriage nationwide, while agreeing that states have a right to have their own laws on marriage under the 10th Amendment. Now, Texas governor and potential presidential candidate Rick Perry appears to be taking a similarly confusing and contradictory view on states’ rights.

When asked about New York’s new marriage equality law, Perry said it was “fine” with him because of the 10th Amendment’s protections for different state marriage laws. He was quickly praised by the gay conservative group GOProud but faced immediate criticism from social conservative activists and presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

Now, it appears that Perry is taking the Bachmann position by supporting both the sweeping and discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment and states’ rights to have different marriage laws under the 10th Amendment. The Austin American Statesmen reports that Perry’s spokesman is now “confirming Perry's support of a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman”:

Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of the conservative Liberty Institute, said he heard from concerned conservatives around the country who wanted to know what to make of Perry's remark.

"He probably could have used a much better term," Shackelford said. Shackelford, whose Plano-based group pushes for limited government and promotes Judeo-Christian values, said he has been telling callers that Perry has long favored an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage as being only between a man and a woman.



Mark Miner, a spokesman for Perry, said the governor's social conservatism remains steadfast.

Miner said people who know Perry understand that two things he feels strongly about are states' rights and the institution of traditional marriage.

"Nothing has changed with the governor's philosophy here," he said. Besides confirming Perry's support of a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, Miner pointed to the governor's state record. Perry supported the Texas Defense of Marriage Act and a state constitutional amendment defining traditional marriage, Miner noted.