During a radio interview on Monday, Sen. Rand Paul said that while a Kentucky county clerk refusing to issue marriage licenses out of a religious objection to same-sex marriage was an "important part of the American way," the courts should ultimately decide if someone can work for the state and deny lawful marriages.
"I think people who do stand up and are making a stand to say that they believe in something is an important part of the American way," the Kentucky senator told Boston Herald Radio when asked if he back Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk who continues to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a court order that she end her "no marriage licenses" policy.
"Whether or not people who still work for the state can do it without the legislature changing it, is something I'm going to leave up to the courts exactly how to do it," Paul said.
Earlier in his response, Paul said the government could avoid conflicts like the one in Rowan County if it just got out of the business of marriage, a view Paul has repeatedly expressed over the years.
"You know I think one way to get around the whole idea of what the Supreme Court is forcing on the states is for states to just get out of the business of giving out licenses." Paul said.
"And so, I've often said we could of gotten around all of this, also, in the sense that I do believe everybody has the right to a contract. There never should of never been any limitations on people of the same sex having contracts," Paul added. "But I do object to the state putting its imprimatur to the specialness of marriage, on something that's different than most people defined as marriage for most of history. So one way is just getting the state out completely. I think that's what we're heading towards, actually."
Kyle Blaine is the deputy politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Kyle Blaine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.