The same-sex marriage debate is a distraction 

Gay Marriage, Again

If Barack Obama was a gay man who was married to Mitt Romney, I would vote for him if he cut government spending, reduced our debt, brought the troops home, and followed the Constitution. I would also vote for someone opposed to gay marriage if he cut government spending, reduced our debt, brought the troops home, and followed the Constitution.

President Obama obviously sees some sort of political capital in being the first president to come out in favor of gay marriage. It's not that I don't care about the issue of gay marriage. In fact, I happen to agree with the president, not only that gay marriage should be legal but also that it should be handled by the states. It's just that I would never support any politician, Republican or Democrat, whose overall policies I thought were destroying this country based on that one issue. For me it is a secondary issue. Then again, if someone tried to deny me the right to marry, perhaps I would feel differently.

I've long argued that the people who obsess over social issues are religious conservatives and liberals. A Republican politician like Rudy Giuliani can be like George W. Bush on steroids when it comes to his foreign policy and anti-civil liberties positions — the Left's primary beefs against Bush — but many liberals will still generally be comfortable with him because he's pro-choice and supports same-sex marriage. Likewise, social conservatives will rally behind big-spending Republicans — Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum, for example — because they are pro-life and opposed to gay marriage. I find both positions petty, hypocritical, and destructive.

As with most things, simply following the Constitution would solve the gay-marriage dilemma. There is nothing in the Constitution that gives the federal government the power to regulate marriage. Any president who followed the Constitution could be for or against gay marriage, and they would have zero power to do anything about it. I don't agree with how North Carolinians voted on gay marriage last week, but I completely agree with President Obama that it is a decision for the people of North Carolina to make, not the federal government. The same is true of Massachusetts, Vermont, and other states where gay marriage is legal.

But enough about federalism and all that constitutional mumbo jumbo. From a Christian perspective, I think gay "marriage" is completely absurd. From a legal perspective, I think denying same-sex couples the same rights and privileges straight couples enjoy is completely unjust. If a man lives with another man — one who is his lover, his best friend, and his longtime companion — those two men should be given the same hospital visitation rights, will and inheritance considerations, tax breaks, and all the other legal advantages given to married couples. If gay men and women want to argue that they are "married" in the eyes of God, that position will forever be just that, an argument. I actually think my conservative Christian friends are on solid ground in rejecting any such "marriage" in purely religious terms. However, if same-sex couples argue that they are being denied the same basic legal advantages given to heterosexual couples, gay Americans are correct. Equality in the eyes of God is beyond man's control. Equality before the law is not.

The institution of marriage was under assault long before gay activists got involved. Divorce alone has been far more damaging to the institution of marriage than gay marriage. If I had my druthers, I'd get the state out of the matrimony business altogether and let churches and other social institutions decide what constitutes marriage.

I have gay friends who've gotten married in other states. If they're happy, I'm happy. I have friends who think gay marriage represents the end of Western civilization. I respect their opinion, but I do not share their alarm. Many of these same folks also do not share my alarm concerning the disastrous consequences of big government and perpetual war. Fair enough. But if the United States ever defaults like Greece, becomes an Orwellian police state, or goes bankrupt trying to save the world, we can then reflect on how little gay marriage had to do with it.

Jack Hunter assisted Sen. Jim DeMint with his latest book, Now or Never: Saving America From Economic Collapse. He is also the official campaign blogger for GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, and he co-wrote Rand Paul's The Tea Party Goes to Washington. You can hear Southern Avenger commentaries on The Morning Buzz on 1250 WTMA.

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