Rand Paul on Civil Rights


Resist government imposing religious views of marriage

Q: In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on same sex marriage, what will you do to ensure Christians are not prosecuted for speaking out against gay marriage? Will Christians be forced to conduct business that conflicts with their religious beliefs?

PAUL: Look, I don't want my marriage or my guns registered in Washington. And if people have an opinion, it's a religious opinion that is heartly felt, obviously they should be allowed to practice that and no government should interfere with them. One of the things that really got to me was the thing in Houston where you had the government, the mayor actually, trying to get the sermons of ministers. When the government tries to invade the church to enforce its own opinion on marriage, that's when it's time to resist.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Marriage for heterosexuals; contracts for same-sex couples

Q: In New Hampshire, you said, "I will fight for your right to be left alone." Why do you believe that people should be left alone, but not when it comes to their right to marry somebody they love?

PAUL: I do believe people ought to be left alone. I am a "leave me alone" kind of guy.

Q: But not when it comes to marriage?

PAUL: Well, no. States will end up making the decisions on these things. I think that there's a religious connotation to marriage that has been going on for thousands of years I still want to preserve that. But I also believe people ought to be treated fairly under the law. I see no reason why, if the marriage contract conveys certain things, that if [a woman] wants to marry another woman, they can do that and have a contract. You could have traditional marriage, and then you could also have the neutrality of the law that allows [same-sex couples] to have contracts with one another.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Apr 12, 2015

Stand up for Bill of Rights against federal usurpation

The usurpation of power by our current Federal Government would make our Founding Fathers roll over in their graves. Our country was founded on principles that meant to expand personal liberties and limit the role of government. I believe we must return to these principles.

I have made it my priority to reassert the rights and privileges of the individual by standing up for the entire Bill of Rights. Our Federal Government has grown out-of-control and we must return it to its constitutionally enumerated powers. I believe that America can successfully protect itself against potential national security threats without sacrificing our inalienable rights

We must fiercely guard our Bill of Rights. I will continue to fight for the Constitution, individual liberty and the freedoms that make this country great.

Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, RandPaul.com, "Issues" , Apr 7, 2015

I don't believe in rights based on your behavior

Sen. Rand Paul said he doesn't buy into the concept of gay rights because they are defined by a gay person's lifestyle: "I don't think I've ever used the term 'gay rights,' because I don't really believe in rights based on your behavior," Paul told reporters in a videotaped interview that has received little attention since it was recorded in 2013.

But it's unclear how far--and to whom--Paul extends the argument that rights cannot be defined by behavior. Practicing religion, for example, is a behavior enshrined in the Bill of Rights, , as is the behavior of free speech. Does Paul believe those behaviors are protected rights?

A Paul spokesperson said the rights that count are those in the country's founding charter. "He does not classify rights based on behavior, but rather recognizes rights for all, as our Constitution defines it. Sen. Paul is the biggest proponent for protecting the Bill of Rights, which, as you know, protects the rights of all Americans as stated in our Constitution."

Source: Buzzfeed.com 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 31, 2015

Gay contracts ok, but gay marriage is offensive

Rand Paul said that affording the distinction to marriage to same-sex couples "offends myself and a lot of other people." In an interview with Fox News, the Kentucky Republican, who described himself as a "libertarian conservative," made the remarks when asked about his views on gay rights: "I'm for traditional marriage," Paul said. "I think marriage is between a man and a woman. Ultimately, we could have fixed this a long time ago if we just allowed contracts between adults. We didn't have to call it marriage, which offends myself and a lot of people."

Paul continued, "I think having competing contracts that would give them equivalency before the law would have solved a lot of these problems, and it may be where we're still headed."

For Paul's vision of equal rights for same-sex couples through contracts to become a reality, the first step would be have to be a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court in June upholding state prohibitions on gay nuptials.

Source: Washington Blade 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 7, 2015

OpEd: Disagrees with Libertarian Party on social issues

Is Rand Paul a libertarian? The answer is yes, although he has some differences with the standard Libertarian Party line:
IssueLibertarian PartyRand Paul
Abortion:No laws for or against abortionLife begins at conception
Gay marriage:No laws for or against homosexualityDon't redefine marriage
Free Trade agreements:No laws for or against free tradeUse incentives on agreements
Campaign Finance Reform:No laws for or against donation limitsRestrict lobbyists & PACs
Source: Jeb Bush vs. Rand Paul On The Issues, by Jesse Gordon , Jan 1, 2015

Don't register guns federally, nor marriages

I asked about same-sex marriage: "I don't want my guns registered in Washington or my marriage," he told me. "Founding Fathers all got married by going down to the local courthouse. It is a local issue and always has been."

What about rapidly-changing opinions on the matter? He took a soft tone. "Society's changing," he said. "People change their minds all the time on this issue, and even within the Republican Party, there are people whose child turns out to be gay and they're like, 'maybe I want to rethink this issue.' So it's been rethought. The President's rethought the issue. A lot of people have rethought the issue."

Was Paul hinting that he, too, could change his thinking? He said, "I believe in old-fashioned traditional marriage. But, I don't really think the government needs to be too involved with this, and I think that the Republican Party can have people on both sides of the issue."

"You could rethink it at some point, too?" I asked. He shrugged. It wasn't a yes or a no.

Source: Jonathan Martin in 2014 NY Times: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Dec 25, 2014

Voter ID laws offend African Americans

Sen. Rand Paul said it is wrong for the GOP to get to wrapped up in voter identification laws because they are offending people, in particular African Americans: "Everybody's gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing," Paul said. "I think it's wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it's offending people."

Democrats have blasted the effort in Republican states to enact strict voter identification laws, arguing they disproportionately affect minority voters. Paul acknowledged that much of the animosity surrounding the debate centers on race. Republicans claim the laws are essential to combat voter fraud. In past comments, Paul has acknowledged fraud exists but that "Republicans may have overemphasized this."

"There's 180,000 people in Kentucky who can't vote. And I don't know the racial breakdown, but it's probably more black than white," he said.

Source: The Hill weblog 2014 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 9, 2014

Women won the "war on women": they're no longer downtrodden

Q: What about the "war for women"?

PAUL: Well, you know, I think we have a lot of debates in Washington that get dumbed down and are used for political purposes. This whole sort of war on women thing, I'm scratching my head because if there was a war on women, I think they won. You know, the women in my family are incredibly successful. I have a niece at Cornell vet school, and 85% of the young people there are women. In law school, 60% are women; in med school, 55%. My younger sister's an ob-gyn with six kids and doing great. You know, I don't see so much that women are downtrodden; I see women rising up and doing great things. And, in fact, I worry about our young men sometimes because I think the women really are out-competing the men in our world. I think the facts show that women are doing very well, have come a long way. So I don't really see this, that there's some sort of war that's, you know, keeping women down.

Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jan 26, 2014

Redefining marriage leads to economic and moral problems

Earlier today, for example, the senator appeared on Glenn Beck's show to discuss the Supreme Court's ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. The host suggested the ruling could lead to polygamy: "If you change one variable--man and a woman to man and man--you can logically change another variable--one man, three women."

For Paul, this seemed perfectly sensible. In fact, the senator went even further than Beck: "If we have no laws on this people take it to one extension further. Does it have to be humans? I'm kind of with you, I see the thousands-of-year tradition of the nucleus of the family unit. I also see that economically, if you just look without any kind of moral periscope and you say, what is it that is the leading cause of poverty in our country? It's having kids without marriage. The stability of the marriage unit is enormous and we should not just say oh we're punting on it, marriage can be anything."

Source: Rachel Maddow blog on U.S. Supreme Court rulings on DOMA , Jun 26, 2013

No national law on same-sex marriage; leave it to states

Paul opposes a national law banning same-sex marriage. Paul's view is that same-same marriage should be dealt with at the state level. Paul said he thinks his party and the nation will eventually accept that different parts of the country have different views on certain issues. "My position on this is the same as Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, George Washington, John Adams," he said. "Marriage is a state issue."
Source: John McCormick article, "Rand Paul Cuts Own Path" , May 10, 2013

Make federal benefits equal for gay couples

Marco Rubio is further to the ideological left on gay marriage than his rhetoric would suggest; but the libertarian-minded Paul is further right--at least rhetorically. When Obama came out in support of gay marriage last year, Paul said that he didn't think the president's views "could get any gayer." "I'm an old-fashioned traditionalist," the senator later told National Review. "I believe in the historic and religious definition of marriage."

At the same time, Paul suggests that the tax code and health insurance should be made neutral so that gay couples benefit from the same breaks as married ones. Like Rubio, he has said that gay marriage should be left to the states to decide. He said Sunday that he is okay with the government being "neutral" on gay marriage; in February he said he was "not sure" how he felt about DOMA.

But he's already willing to let other states legalize gay marriage and to let gay couples have some federal benefits; he could expand that to mean marriage in all but name.

Source: Washington Post 2013 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 26, 2013

Let states decide same-sex marriage; don't federalize it

Q: You say the federal government should stay out of same sex marriage issue and leave it, as it has been traditionally left, to the states. Should the court, therefore, strike down the Defense of Marriage Act?

PAUL: I think it's a really complicated issue. I've always said that the states have a right to decide. I do believe in traditional marriage, Kentucky has decided it, and I don't think the federal government should tell us otherwise. There are states that have decided in the opposite fashion, and I don't think the federal government should tell anybody or any state government how they should decide this. Marriage has been a state issue for hundreds of years. DOMA is complicated, though, because DOMA does provide protection for the states from the federal government. But, then part of it federalizes the issue. I think the way to fix DOMA is maybe to try to make all of our laws more neutral towards the issue, and I don't want the government promoting something I don't believe in.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 24, 2013

Illegal to impose racial segregation in the private sector

In two broadcast interviews, Paul said that the federal government may have overstepped its role by making it illegal to impose racial segregation in the private sector.

Asked if he thought a private business had the right to say it would not serve black people, he said: "I don't want to be associated with those people, but I also don't want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilised behaviour because that's one of the things freedom requires."

Since the furore, Paul has released a statement indicating that he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 de-segregation bill, a position he declined to take a day earlier.

"I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation, which was to stop discrimination in the public sphere and halt the abhorrent practice of segregation," he said.

Source: London Sunday Times, "US and the Americas" , May 21, 2010

Opposes same-sex marriage

Like Dr. Paul, Mr. Grayson, 37, said he opposed the federal bailout, abortion rights and same-sex marriage. Mr. Grayson has the support of the state's most powerful politician, the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who hosted a fund-raiser in Washington for him in September, helping him amass the $1.2 million he raised from May to October.
Source: New York Times politics report: Kentucky , Nov 26, 2009

Voted NO on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Congressional Summary:
    Amends the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) to add or expand definitions of several terms used in such Act, including :
  1. "culturally specific services" to mean community-based services that offer culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to culturally specific communities;
  2. "personally identifying information" with respect to a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  3. "underserved populations" as populations that face barriers in accessing and using victim services because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity; and
  4. "youth" to mean a person who is 11 to 24 years old.

Opponent's Argument for voting No (The Week; Huffington Post, and The Atlantic): House Republicans had objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA's protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans. For example, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) voted against the VAWA bill because it was a "politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference." The objections can be grouped in two broadly ideological areas--that the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and that it represents a "feminist" attack on family values. The act's grants have encouraged states to implement "mandatory-arrest" policies, under which police responding to domestic-violence calls are required to make an arrest. These policies were intended to combat the too-common situation in which a victim is intimidated into recanting an abuse accusation. Critics also say VAWA has been subject to waste, fraud, and abuse because of insufficient oversight.

Reference: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act; Bill S. 47 ; vote number 13-SV019 on Feb 12, 2013

Opposes affirmative action.

Paul opposes the CC survey question on affirmative action

The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Affirmative action programs providing preferential treatment to minorities"

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q2 on Aug 11, 2010

Supports Amendment to prevent same sex marriage.

Paul supports the CC survey question on banning same-sex marriage

The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Federal Marriage Amendment to prevent same sex marriage"

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q3 on Aug 11, 2010

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Page last updated: Aug 16, 2015