Following up on Joe Biden’s pronouncement yesterday that he “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage, Wendy Long, a GOP contender for the U.S. Senate, sent out a statement urging President Barack Obama to hold the line on traditional marriage and send the matter back to the states.
“As a practicing Catholic, I believe what President Obama says he believes, that marriage is between a man and woman,” she said in a statement. “I also believe that, from a constitutional perspective, marriage is and always has been the province of state law. Yesterday’s comments by Vice President Biden raise the specter that the Obama administration is preparing yet another assault on our Constitution and another radical intrusion by the federal government into our everyday lives.”
It is worth noting what the Long campaign is trying to do here. Ms. Long, an attorney and conservative activist who once clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is raising her objection not so much on religious grounds–although she does note that gay marriage runs counter to her religious beliefs–but on Constitutional grounds, that the question of marriage is better left to the states. This position would put her counter to many Republicans, including former president George W. Bush, who want a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and it may endear her to more moderate voters, since Ms. Long’s stance wouldn’t necessarily interfere with, say, New York’s same sex marriage law.
“Unfortunately, the Obama administration has already reversed its support for DOMA first set in place by President Clinton,” Ms. Long continued. “DOMA upholds the constitutional premise that marriage is a state issue, allowing individual states to adopt laws that reflect what the people in that state want to do. That is what our Founders intended and what a federal system of government is all about.”
Ms. Long is facing Congressman Bob Turner and Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos in a race to take on U. S. Sen Kirsten Gillibrand, who has become one of the nation’s staunchest backers of gay rights since becoming a senator in 2009. Ms. Long also has the backing of the anti-gay marriage Conservative Party.
In the rest of her statement, much like Mr. Turner earlier in the day, Ms. Long tried to tie Ms. Gillibrand to the president, in particular noting that she is championing gay rights in a way that she did not when Ms. Gillibrand served in the House of Representatives.
“I urge President Obama to honor our Constitution and refrain from any federal action preempting state discretion as it pertains to laws guiding same-sex marriage,” she said. “I also call on him to definitively make his position clear for a second term, so that voters can be certain that he won’t ‘evolve’ like my opponent Senator Gillibrand when the timing is convenient for his political calendar. I think any New Yorkers, and all Americans, are concerned that if President Obama is re-elected, he will have even less regard for the views of the American people than he has had to date. And we cannot afford a U.S. Senate with a majority like Kirsten Gillibrand who are eager to rubber-stamp his arrogant trampling of the constitutional power reserved to the states and the people. ”