Libertarians Applaud Rand Paul’s Punt on Marriage

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Daily Beast reports on how libertarians are responding to what they see as Rand Paul’s attempt to re-brand the GOP as more purely libertarian and the practical problems that ensue:

The more Paul is forced to speak out on positions, the more opportunities he has to turn off supporters. For example, David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, and author of The Libertarian Mindlikes Paul’s view of marriage as a contract, but suspects Paul’s newfound rhetoric about gay marriage comes with a cost.

“Unfortunately,” Boaz said, “it’s tone-deaf language that cuts against his goal of improving the image of the Republican Party with people who don’t trust Republicans.”

Many social conservatives found Rand Paul’s language similarly tone-deaf, as I noted.

But Reason magazine chief Nick Gillespie gave Paul a pass for the heresy expressing personal distaste for gay marriage, because at least he signaled he wouldn’t act on his beliefs:

“[T]he important thing is that Rand Paul is not letting his personal beliefs dictate national policy,” Gillespie said, pointing to examples where Paul has said government shouldn’t be involved in marriage.

Libertarians will likely stick with Rand, in spite of his socially conservative religious views.  But, “[t]he problem, it seems, is with the always dubious notion that Paul could rebrand the Republican Party in the long run, making it more appealing to disaffected millennials and tech-savvy libertarian denizens of the Pacific Northwest.”

Dubious is a generous word, under the circumstances.

Deal W. Hudson is publisher and editor of The Christian Review, president of the Morley Institute for Church and Culture, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.