Ken Mehlman wrote an op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun called Marriage Equality: A Conservative Ideal. He started off the article asking, “What do Vice President Dick Cheney, Gen. Colin Powell, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Clint Eastwood and more than 130 top officials from the Reagan and both Bush administrations have in common?” They are all proud conservatives and have spent years fighting for a smaller government. Another thing they have in common – they all support civil marriage for gay couples.
Just two weeks ago another prominent conservative was added to this list: State Sen. Ben Kieckhefer. He stood in favor of repealing Nevada’s current constitutional ban on same –sex marriage. And replacing it with protections that will provide all “loving, committed couples in the state the freedom to marry while also protecting religious freedom for churches that feel differently on the issues.”
“Freedom of Americans across all races is why the Republican Party was founded,” Ken Mehlman states. As he explains it, all of the party’s best accomplishments have come from moments when they have promoted freedom as based on the Declaration of Independence.
“What freedom could be more basic and personal than the right to marry the person you love?” he asks. “If we are serious in our belief that every citizen is endowed by his or her creator with the right to pursue happiness, then how can this not include the freedom to marry? What could be more central to a person’s happiness? And alternatively, if we want a smaller, less obtrusive government, shouldn’t individuals, not politicians decide who they can marry?”
Kenneth Mehlman believes that marriage not only maximizes freedom, but also promotes stability, responsibility, commitment and family values.
This new amendment approved by Kieckhefer adds new protections that strengthen religious liberty. If it is passed, same-sex couples will be allowed to marry and private religious institutions would not be required to recognize or perform a wedding.
In national polls, support for marriage equality from Republicans has increased by 50 percent in the past 3 years. As Mehlman put it, “This isn’t surprising. The freedom to marry is consistent with core conservative and American values – limited government, personal responsibility, commitment and, above all, freedom for all.