(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Rand Paul (R- Ky.) said keeping the same-sex marriage debate at the state level will allow supporters of traditional marriage to turn public opinion that he said is shifting to the other side.
“If we say we believe in a federally mandated one man, one woman marriage, we’re going to lose that battle, because the country is going the other way right now,” Paul said last week during an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). “If we were to say each state can decide, I think a good 25, 30 states still do believe in traditional marriage, and maybe we allow the debate to go on for another couple of decades and see if we can still win back the hearts and minds of people.”
The bulk of states – 39 – have voted by popular referendum against same-sex marriage – either enshrining one-man-one-woman in the state constitution or passing a statute recognizing only traditional marriage. Nine states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage, in most cases either through the legislature or imposed by the courts.
For the first time in 2012, voters approved of gay marriage. Maine, Maryland and
Washington state voters opted to allow gay marriage in their states after legislatures approved it earlier in the year.
Voters in Minnesota voted down a state constitutional amendment recognizing only traditional marriage. North Carolina, in 2012, voted for a constitutional amendment to recognize only traditional marriage.
A Quinnipiac Poll released last week found a plurality of 50 percent support gay marriage while 41 percent oppose it.
Paul, a likely presidential contender in 2016, talked about numerous issues during the interview with CBN’s David Brody, including his support for traditional marriage and the family unit. Brody asked him if he could see himself one day supporting same-sex marriage.
“The family unit is something that has come about for thousands of years,” Paul responded. “We’ve had a family structure, and I think it’s an important structure. Not everyone in the country is going to agree with me on that. There are people and young people seem to be changing their opinions, but I think we should still be in favor of what we’re in favor of, and that’s that there is a traditional family unit, and that it’s important.
“The law is going to be somewhat different in the sense that where marriage is adjudicated, whether it’s the federal level or the state level,” Paul continued. “We’ve always had marriage certificates, but we’ve had them at the state level. If we keep it that way, maybe we can still have the discussion go on without making the decision go all the way one way or all the way the other way.
“Because I think right now if we say we believe in a federally mandated one man, one woman marriage, we’re going to lose that battle, because the country is going the other way right now. If we were to say each state can decide, I think a good 25, 30 states still do believe in traditional marriage and maybe we allow the debate to go on for another couple of decades and see if we can still win back the hearts and minds of people,” he said.