Bravo to delegates of the 2014 Nevada Republican Party convention for having both the courage and foresight to remove the gay marriage issue from the party’s official platform. I suspect Ronald Reagan would have approved.
In a 2013 New York Times profile, the president’s daughter, Patti Davis, reminded everyone of her father’s opposition to a California ballot measure that would have banned gay teachers from working in public schools, and recalled a very telling incident from her youth.
“Once when she and her father were watching a Rock Hudson movie, Ms. Davis said, she remarked that the actor ‘looked weird’ kissing his female co-star. She said her father explained that Mr. Hudson ‘would rather be kissing a man’ and conveyed, without using the words homosexual or gay, the idea that ‘some men are born wanting to love another man.’ ”
This was a simple acknowledgement of reality, just as Nevada Republicans at this year’s convention acknowledged the political reality that, like it or not, for better or worse, legal gay marriages in this country are inevitable.
The fact is the general public’s views on and acceptance of gay marriage have changed dramatically during the past 10 years, especially as more and more younger citizens have entered the voting population.
Legal gay marriages are also inevitable because of the equal protection clause in our Constitution and because of the precedent established by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1967 Loving v. Virginia landmark decision in which the court declared, in striking down that state’s ban on interracial marriages, that marriage was a fundamental right.
One of my favorite Reagan quotes is this: “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”
It is not the government’s proper role to determine who can marry who. If anything, this controversy shows the danger of an ever-expanding “nanny state” government. In fact, the real problem here isn’t letting gays into the institution of marriage, but the decision made many, many years ago to let the government into the institution of marriage.
Again quoting Reagan, “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.”
This is not to say, of course, that all Republicans are now supporters of gay marriage. They surely are not. What the Nevada GOP’s decision says is that limited-government Republicans of good conscience can be on opposite sides of this issue and still be good Republicans.
This was surely neither an easy decision, nor a popular one with social conservatives. But it was the right decision, as history will bear out over time. And as the first state GOP party in the nation to make such a bold move, Nevada Republicans can be proud for making a decision that other states will now certainly follow.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass-roots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.muthstruths.com.