What do Clint Eastwood, Dick Cheney, Ted Olson and John Bolton have in common? All are strong, lifelong conservatives. Each has fought on behalf of smaller government. And all support the freedom of same-sex couples to marry.
As voters in Maryland consider the issue in this election, right-leaning voters should consider why these prominent conservative believe the freedom to marry is consistent with our values.
Conservatives have built a broad coalition, united around a single goal: more freedom, less government. It’s key to our heritage and inherent to our DNA.
Freedom of Americans across all races is why the Republican Party was founded. And our most important accomplishments, from the economic growth unleashed when we’ve lowered taxes and reduced regulation to the fall of the Berlin Wall, have resulted when we promoted freedom. Our concept of freedom is based in the Declaration of Independence, where every American was provided by their Creator, not government, with the right to pursue happiness.
As former Vice President Dick Cheney noted in explaining why he supports civil marriage for all American couples, “Freedom means freedom for everyone.” He’s right.
What freedom is more basic and personal than the opportunity to marry the person you love?
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?
Maryland's Question 6, the Civil Marriage Protection Act, adds new protections that strengthen religious liberty, while advancing other critical values shared by so many Americans of faith. These proposals involve permitting gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license. None would require a private religious institution to recognize or perform a wedding, and in Maryland churches and religious institutions would be protected against litigation.
As Republicans, we respect the individual and work to empower people to live as they see fit, with as little intrusion by the government as practical. This idea is grounded in an important Judeo-Christian value that we should all treat others as we would like to be treated.
Ken Mehlman, New York City
The letter writer, who grew up in Maryland, is former Republican National Committee chairman and George W. Bush campaign manager.