Perry’s Flip Flop on Same-Sex Marriage and Federalism

President Obama is not the only politician who has a difficult time sticking to a single position on same-sex marriage (Obama was for it before he was against it before he was for it again). Rick Perry seems to be having trouble figuring out whether the federal government should be involved in the issue or not.

Perry also told host Joe Kernan that he “respects” decisions to legalize same-sex marriage in states like New York. “This conversation has always been about states’ rights on this host of issue” and about rebuking “this idea that Washington should be given total and full ability to make these decisions,” he said.

Of course, when he was running for president, Perry supported the federal government intervening on same-sex marriage, endorsing the Federal Marriage Amendment.

But the Texas governor was for the right of states to pass marriage equality laws before he was against it and then for it again.

“Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me,” he said in July of 2011. “If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.”

So in 2011, he was all about states’ rights and keeping the federal government out of it. In 2012, he wanted the federal government to overrule all 50 states and force them not to legalize same-sex marriage. And in 2014, he claims it was all about federalism all along. Perhaps he just forgot what that third thing was again.

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  • vmanis1

    Oops.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    Actually, Perry is very consistent. He’s in favor of whatever entity that he thinks will give him the results that he wants. If the states will do it, then he’s all about states rights. If the feds will do it, then he’s in favor of federal action.

    Obama’s consistent, too. Consistently waving in the direction that the electoral wind is blowing.

  • scienceavenger

    I cringed when I saw this headline, for it irks me to no end that our anti-intellectualism has run so far amok in this country that any change of mind is treated as an intellectual sin and dubbed a flip-flop. Imagine our state of affairs if science behaved that way. We’d still be sitting in caves wondering if rocks were edible. Thanks Ed for using the term as it should be used, referring to a for-it, against-it, for-it. Going from for to against isn’t a flip flop, it’s just a flip, and often a good one.

  • colnago80

    Ah gee, ole Ricky boy is contemplating relocating to California after his term as governor runs out. Maybe San Francisco. Is Governor Hairspray contemplating coming out of the closet?

  • Alverant

    #3 It’s a good thing to change your mind in the face of new facts. But Perry isn’t really changing his mind. He’s still against equal marriage. The only thing he’s changed is the means with which he’s going to force his opinion on everyone. Also when you change your mind, there should be no shame in admitting that you have. Perry is pretending he was always for a federal solution, but that only happened when he realized the states weren’t doing what he wanted.

    I do agree that too many times there is fall out just for changing someone’s mind when there shouldn’t be. There’s this “If he admitted he was wrong about X then he was probably wrong about everything else too.” that keeps people stuck in their positions and only makes them dig deeper even when they know they’re on a losing side.

  • Chris J

    #3

    There’s also this idea that if one flip-flops a lot, then they probably aren’t stating a position from actual belief or conviction, but just going with whatever’s popular for the sole purpose of getting elected, meaning there’s little chance they’ll do what they promise during the election cycle. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if its gotten to the point where people have forgotten about the implication and now feel that flip-flopping is a bad thing in and of itself.

  • Trebuchet

    He’s a Republican. They’re always opposed to big government, except when they’re for it.

  • Michael Heath

    Gov. Perry’s remains consistent by ignoring that the Constitution prohibits states from infringing upon people’s rights unequally.

    Perry’s just another liar claiming he’s all for liberty while seeking to exploit whatever government power is most convenient in order to deny people their liberty rights. But only those people who conservative Christians hate.

  • Michael Heath

    scienceavenger writes:

    I cringed when I saw this headline, for it irks me to no end that our anti-intellectualism has run so far amok in this country that any change of mind is treated as an intellectual sin and dubbed a flip-flop. Imagine our state of affairs if science behaved that way. We’d still be sitting in caves wondering if rocks were edible. Thanks Ed for using the term as it should be used, referring to a for-it, against-it, for-it. Going from for to against isn’t a flip flop, it’s just a flip, and often a good one.

    I think Ed’s criticism of Barack Obama here holds. You’d be right if we castigated people for taking a defensible position after previously holding an indefensible position. But as noted, Mr. Obama held a defensible position, then switched, and then switched back. This is ripe for ridicule since such behavior cynically demonstrates motivations the protagonist doesn’t defend.

    I think it’s also worth ridiculing those who flip only once when they go from a defensible position to an indefensible position, e.g., Mitt Romney. Both cases argue for cynical motivations the protagonist cowardly refuses to defend.

    Therefore I think we need some context than you use before we can make systemic judgments that broadly apply.

  • steve84

    State’s rights is an insanely stupid concept no matter how you look at it. It’s called the “United” States. You can’t have widely differing laws from one place to another. That may have made sense in the 18th century when the country was small and traveling between the coasts was the adventure of a lifetime. It’s absurd in a modern, interconnected and highly mobile society.