Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson backs an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would forbid judges from forcing states to recognize same-sex marriages that are legal in other states. Many Christian conservatives in Thompson’s party, however, favor an amendment that would ban gay marriage in all 50 states.
"You’ve got to be awfully, awfully reticent to go in and do more than is absolutely necessary in terms of a constitutional amendment and federalize what doesn’t need to be federalized to solve the problem," Thompson says. "They understand that, appreciate it. I think they think that mine is a good approach. I can’t say that they think it’s a better approach than one that I might have, but I think that they respect my position on federalism."
Thompson blasts what he calls "judicial-made law," but he says this is a states’ rights issue and the residents of states should be the ones to decide whether they want gay marriage legalized in their state.
"Still allows local communities and local states and their governors — if they decide they want to go in that direction, they can go in that direction, but as I said, not one has ever done it," Thompson says. "I can’t imagine the people of Iowa or the people Tennessee or the people of anywhere else would ever go in that direction."
Thompson is critical of the recent decision from an Iowa judge who ruled an Iowa law banning gay marriage was unconstitutional. "It’s another example of judges interpreting what is before them in ways that suit their own sociological needs and not with regard to anything that’s in the constitution or the laws that they’re interpreting," Thompson says.
Thompson accuses judges of trying to find "new and novel ways" of interpreting long-standing laws. "Marriage is between a man and a woman and has been since the dawn of civilization and nobody really thought that it was an issue in this country until judges decided that it was again," Thompson says.
Thompson, who’s campaigning in Iowa through Wednesday, made his comments during a stop Monday morning in Newton. He also had stops scheduled in Marshalltown, Iowa Falls and Cedar Falls on Monday. Thompson will be in Fort Dodge, Clinton and Coralville Tuesday.