Texas Governor Rick Perry delivered a speech Friday that is sure to be praised by Tea Party activists while at the same time derided by social conservative groups.
Though he still styles himself a staunch social conservative, Perry says that he recognizes the role and importance of the 10th Amendment in American politics.
“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.”
This position sets Governor Perry apart from most of the other Republican candidates, who, during a debate in New Hampshire last month, expressed support for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning gay marriage.
Most notable (and derided) were the comments of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn); for though she supports New York’s decision to legalize gay marriage, and would not interfere in the states’ ability to make decisions like these, she would support an amendment which would overturn state marriage laws.
Other Republican candidates have differing views on the issue.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), though personally believing that marriage is between one-man and one-woman, feels that the government should get out of the marriage business altogether. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson both believe in civil unions, and would not back a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
Perry is already drawing reactions from the social conservative wing of the Republican Party, with Christian Broadcasting Network’s Chief Political Correspondent David Brody, writing on his blog:
“I’m sure the majority of conservative evangelicals are big believers in the 10th amendment but the fundamental question seems to be this: When does a federal constitutional amendment trump the 10th amendment? What issue qualifies? Isn’t marriage one of those issues? Perry is basically saying anything goes for each state. His take seems to be if you don’t like gay marriage, don’t move to New York. We have amendments to our constitution abolishing slavery, giving women the right to vote, etc. Wouldn’t protecting traditional marriage qualify?”