Five of the seven Republican presidential candidates at Monday night’s GOP debate said they want a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum all stated if they were elected president, they would support anti-gay discrimination written directly into the constitution.
“The constitutional amendment includes the states,” Rick Santorum, known for his homophobia, stated. “Three-quarters of the states have to ratify it. So the states will be involved in this process. We should have one law with respect to marriage. There needs to be consistency as something as foundational as what marriage is.”
Michele Bachman, attempting to rally her Tea Party, first stated that were she President, she would not support a federal marriage amendment, but then, after other candidates answered, she refined her answer. CBS, stating Bachmann “seemed to trip over the question,” offered this report:
“I do believe in the 10th amendment and I do believe in self-determination for the states,” Bachmann responded, adding that she also sees marriage as “between a man and woman.” Later, she said that she doesn’t “see that it’s the role of a president to go into states and interfere with their state laws.”
Only Herman Cain and Ron Paul stated they would not support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
But this is all a matter of degrees.
Ron Paul stated that marriage was the purview of the Church. He neglected to answer what Jews, and Muslims, and those of other faiths, along with atheists, would do to get married, as he wants the government out of the “marriage business.”
Also via CBS:
“Newt Gingrich said that if the Defense of Marriage Act – which the Obama administration is now declining to defend in court – is overturned, “at that point you have no choice but a constitutional amendment.”
When CNN’s John King asked about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Herman Cain stated he thought repealing the repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military would be a “distraction,” and would not change whatever policy existed when he theoretically took office. Rick Santorum disagreed entirely, spoke about “bad behavior” in relation to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — suggesting that gays are not homosexual, rather, exhibiting bad behavior.
“The job of the United States military is to protect and defend the people of this country,” Santorum said. “It is not for social experimentation. It should be repealed.”
Ron Paul said he wouldn’t change whatever policy was in place, but added that rights don’t belong to groups — a concept he did not explore further. Tim Pawlenty said he would defer to the Commanders, a concept Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann seemed to like a lot.
For a party that has been obsessed with social issues of the culture wars, this Republican debate was short on same-sex marriage, gays in the military, and abortion. And while there was no surprise in their answers, there was one topic that was shocking in the fact it was even recognized as a legitimate question: Muslims, and Sharia law.
“I don’t believe in Sharia law in American courts,” Cain said Monday. “I believe in American laws in American courts, period.”
“There have been instances in New Jersey, there was an instance in Oklahoma , where Muslims did try to influence court decisions with Sharia law,” he continued. “I was simply saying, very emphatically, American laws in American courts.”
Cain also said he would ask Muslims seeking jobs in his administration “certain questions … to make sure that we have people committed to the Constitution.”
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who spoke next, appeared to brush aside Cain’s concerns about Sharia and his suspicions of American Muslims.
“Of course, we’re not going to have Sharia law applied in U.S. courts. That’s never going to happen,” Romney said. “We have a Constitution and we follow the law.”
Romney then appeared to defend American Muslims, even if he didn’t mention them specifically.
“We recognize that people of all faiths are welcome in this country,” he said. “Our nation was founded on a principle of religious tolerance. That’s in fact why some of the earliest patriots came to this country and why we treat people with respect, regardless of their religious persuasion.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich quickly jumped in to push back on Romney, siding more with Cain over the issue of Islam. Gingrich invoked Faisal Shahzad, the so-called Times Square bomber of 2010, who is a U.S. citizen from Pakistan.
“Now, I just want to go out on a limb here,” Gingrich said. “I’m in favor of saying to people, ‘If you’re not prepared to be loyal to the United States, you will not serve in my administration, period. ‘”
“We did this in dealing with the Nazis and we did this in dealing with the communists,” Gingrich continued. “And it was controversial both times, and both times we discovered after a while, there are some genuinely bad people who would like to infiltrate our country. And we have got to have the guts to stand up and say no.”
Cain’s and Gingrich’s comments on American Muslims supplied some of the night’s biggest applause lines.
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