Will A Republican President Threaten Gay Marriages?

Susan Macdonald

Would same-sex marriages be endangered if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz wins the White House in November? Both Trump and Cruz have made their objections to Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage, abundantly clear. Both have said they'll ignore or change the law if elected to the White House. Marco Rubio, who came in a close third in the Iowa caucus, has said he disagrees with the Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage, also called marriage equality. Ben Carson has compared homosexuality to bestiality and announced that he does not consider same-sex marriage a civil right.

Of the 17 Republicans running for president, seven have dropped out of the race. Of the 10 remaining Republican candidates, none are enthusiastic supporters of marriage equality. Rick Santorum claims government isn't "capable of redefining" marriage. Carly Fiorina approves civil unions, but thinks the Supreme Court went too far in Obergefell v. Hodges. Chris Christie, who has long put pragmatism over doctrinal purity, compared fighting a losing battle against gay marriage to spending taxpayer's money to "bang your head against the wall." John Kasich, who came in second in New Hampshire, is personally opposed to same-sex marriage, but he says he'll accept the Supreme Court's decision. Jeb Bush has attempted to strike a balance between not upsetting his conservative supporters and his personal beliefs on traditional marriage vs. the fact that same-sex marriage is supported by a vast majority of American voters. Lindsey Graham told NBC's Meet the Press that continuing to fight same-sex marriage would be a waste of time, which could only hurt the Republican Party in the long run.


The Huffington Post reported that Trump says that if elected, he'll appoint Supreme Court judges who will overturn Obergefell v. Hodges. Before he was running for president, Trump's views on same-sex marriage were different, as shown in this video from 1999.

Cruz, who led Trump by a very small margin in the Iowa caucus, but came in third in the New Hampshire primary, called gay marriage a threat to religious freedom. However, Cruz allegedly told a group of wealthy supporters that fighting gay marriage was not a top priority.


With more Americans in favor of same-sex marriage, including younger Republicans, the ultra-conservative wing of the Republican Party and the GOP establishment are finding themselves more out of touch with the majority of voters, including the future of their own party. They also seem to be out of touch with the history of their party. Former Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, who was called "Mr. Conservative" in his day, would be far too liberal for many modern conservatives. Goldwater predicted the danger of permitting the church too much influence in politics and was far more supportive of equal rights for homosexuals than most modern Republicans.


Over 20 countries permit same-sex marriage legally. Mexico allows same-sex marriage on a state-by-state basis.

Before Obergefell v. Hodges, 37 states permitted same-sex marriages. However, even though all 50 states now recognize marriage equality, in 28 states it's still perfectly legal for employers to fire people for being gay or for landlords to deny housing because of sexual orientation. Despite the Fourteenth Amendment, gays can be refused service in retail stores in 29 states. Since LGBTQ citizens aren't legally protected by the anti-discrimination laws that protect racial minorities, it's not impossible -- in some states it's not even difficult -- for LGBTQ couples to find themselves unemployed or homeless after posting their wedding pictures on Facebook.

Not all Republicans object to same-sex marriage. Certainly, the Log Cabin Republicans do not object to gay marriage. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the majority of Americans support same-sex marriage, including 60 percent of Republicans under the age of 30. However, none of the Republican presidential candidates favor same-sex marriage. If a Republican is elected to the White House, will Obergefell v. Hodges stand as the law of the land? Would a president be able to abolish same-sex marriage just because he preferred to ignore a supreme court decision? President Obama has already learned the difficulty of trying to force policies through an uncooperative congress. Are Cruz, Trump, and the other Republican candidates promising more than they can deliver? Will same-sex marriage remain a legal right in the U.S.A. if one of them is elected?

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