Rand Paul’s ‘libertarian’ compromise on marriage equality mirrors right-wing Christian talking points
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tried to stake out a libertarian middle ground in the debate over marriage equality, but his arguments sound suspiciously like Christian conservative boilerplate.

The GOP presidential candidate published an essay Sunday in Time magazine, where he argued liberals were hypocrites on contract law.

“Do consenting adults have a right to contract with other consenting adults? Supporters of the Supreme Court’s decision argue yes but they argue no when it comes to economic liberties, like contracts regarding wages,” Paul wrote. “It seems some rights are more equal than others.”

Paul argued that the government should stop regulating marriage entirely -- as religious conservatives in Alabama and other states have moved to do -- to prevent oversight of churches and the hospitals and schools they operate.

“Since government has been involved in marriage, they have done what they always do — taxed it, regulated it, and now redefined it,” Paul complained. “It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right.”

The senator twice cited approvingly the dissent to the marriage equality ruling by Justice Clarence Thomas, who argued that if there were any constitutional right to marry, it did not include a right to have the government recognize that marriage.

“State legislatures are entitled to express their preference for traditional marriage, so long as the equal rights of same-sex couples are protected,” Paul wrote.

He wondered aloud what those rights were, but he never answered his own question.

“Perhaps it is time to be more careful what we ask government to do, and where we allow it to become part of our lives,” Paul wrote.

“The Constitution was written by wise men who were raised up by God for that very purpose,” Paul added. “There is a reason ours was the first where rights came from our creator and therefore could not be taken away by government. Government was instituted to protect them.”