When Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis was ordered to jail under contempt of court this week for refusing to issue marriage licenses to any couple — thereby in her mind avoiding having to give out marriage license to homosexual couples — in defiance of a federal court order, reactions from the 2016 Republican presidential candidate field were varied, but most encouraged Ms. Davis to follow the letter of the law, as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) did. However, two candidates — Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, defended Davis’ right to discriminate against gay people, even as an elected member of government.
Speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Paul — who many believe represent a libertarian wing of the Republican party, despite traditional libertarian views of being in favor of letting any two adults marry they choose — said the thought “it’s absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberty.” Cruz, never one to shy away from bombast and inflammatory rhetoric, said that ” judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny.” Both men are polling extremely low at the moment in the race for the Republican nomination.
Reporters in Hatchet Falls, New Hampshire asked Paul at a press conference after a campaign stop if he felt he was defending the Separation of Church and state adequately, as a sitting U.S. Senator, if he’s advocating for an agent of the state to discriminate against LGBT people based on her religious beliefs, and in violation of the 14th Amendment. “First of all, as a libertarian I must as always ignore what the term means and insist that Freedom of Association means that anyone can discriminate against someone else because true freedom means letting someone rob another American of theirs, based on their belief in an unprovable deity,” Paul responded.
“Secondly,” the Kentucky ophthalmologist turned politician told the press, “the Separation of Church and State is never mentioned specifically in the Constitution. So even though for literally hundreds of years we have functioned as a society quite well without letting people in places of government power exert their religious beliefs over others, as a libertarian I believe in rolling our country back to the days before the Civil War, when we could all discriminate against people we thought were different than us and that deserved less freedom therefore,” Paul said adding, “that’s the America I want to restore as the next president.”
Cruz, speaking to reporters just a few miles away in Skinny Falls, New Hampshire, had a much more concise reason for backing up Davis’ efforts to keep gay couples from marrying in her county. “Put simply, Randy and I are just ‘Assholes Extraordinaire.'” Cruz explained further, “We don’t care that public sentiment is widely in favor of marriage equality nationwide. We don’t care that any outside observer can see striking similarities between George Wallace’s and Kim Davis’ behavior. We don’t care that it literally makes no sense to be in favor of small government and then defend a government denying equal protections under the law based on their private affairs. We’re assholes. We just want to keep giving people the right to hurt other people, because we need their votes, plain and simple.”
Paul, when asked later in the day about whether he agreed with Cruz, that they were both “assholes extraordinaire,” and Paul laughed before responding.
“I mean, Teddy’s got some funny ways of putting things,” Paul said, “so maybe I’d use the words ‘politically calculating,’ and ‘cynical’ and ‘willing to throw red meat to the fundamentalists to get campaign donations and votes. Asshole might be a bit strong, but then again he said we’re extraordinary, so that kind of is a compliment. Tell you what, I’m going to have my 22-year old millennial social media director, Libertarian Girl, make a few memes about this, and I’ll get back to you on my opinions on this once I get them given to me.”
“My fellow Americans,” Cruz would later tell the two dozen or so attendees at another campaign stop, “we cannot let the tyranny of the courts keep the good, Christian people of this nation from tyrannizing people. Freedom of Religion, if you ask me, means allowing people to create a society where their faith in God writes the laws. It’s a kind of society where the Holy texts of our Christian Bible can be the actual laws, instead of the fancy-pants lawyer talk — only jerks are lawyers, remember, and ignore that I am one, okay thanks — that makes up our laws now. We must be allowed to create a Theocracy, or our republican democracy will fail. God Bless God. God Bless The Republican Party. And God Bless Me!”