Did Glenn Beck just back gay marriage?

Mark Sterkel AP Should social conservatives push for the government to stop regulating marriage? Could Glenn Beck help shift America’s … Continued

Mark Sterkel

AP

Should social conservatives push for the government to stop regulating marriage?

Could Glenn Beck help shift America’s debate over gay marriage?

In a Dec. 6 video on Blaze TV (embedded below) Beck, a convert to Mormonism, spoke with magician and atheist author Penn Jillette for a discussion framed around their shared libertarianism. The seemingly odd couple–one a social liberal, the other a religious conservative– came to a consensus on the idea of the government getting out of the marriage business.

“Let me take the pro-gay marriage people and the religious people. I believe that there is a connecting dot there that nobody is looking at, and that’s the Constitution,” Beck said.

“The question isn’t, ‘Should gay people be married or not,’ the question is, ‘Why is the government involved in our marriage?’” Beck added in the clip. “We can solve the whole [debate] with just more freedom.”

Warning that even if there were consensus on the privatization of marriage, Beck said that he believes that some gay marriage advocates would be unwilling to carve out religious exceptions to protect the conscience rights of those opposed to gay marriage. Their “agenda is to shut down my freedom of speech and my belief,” he said.

Beck, a convert to Mormonism, has worn both tea party and social conservative hats — on the one hand by helping forge the fiscally-minded, small government movement, and on the other, by calling for a national religious revival.

Is it possible that the controversial conservative is offering an constructive new approach to the public debate over the definition of marriage — now headed to the Supreme Court –that social conservatives can back? (Blogger Rod Dreher wrote Tuesday that he thought Beck was naive to imagine that the government would be able to untangle an entire legal system from marriage and that Beck underestimated the religious freedom issues at play.) Or is sheer politics forcing conservatives to find a new way to address what now seems to be a losing issue?

Beck continued to appeal to those on the right to back him on his approach to marriage: “We just need libertarians and people on the right to understand you are a libertarian constitutionalist first. You’re not a Republican. You are a constitutionalist, “ he said.

“What we need to do, I think, as people who believe in the Constitution, is to start looking for allies that believe in the Constitution and expand our own horizons. We would have the ultimate big tent because the only ones that wouldn’t be allowed in the tent would be the people that don’t believe in the Constitution.”

About

Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • jaylows_legs

    So if you were born gay, where’s the gene? Science for libs is only used for their agenda.

  • rag91354

    I welcome his support and, if he’s being forthright in his statements, I agree with him on this particular issue.

  • re-string

    there has to be a gene?

  • JulesK

    “Is it possible that the controversial conservative is offering an constructive new approach to the public debate over the definition of marriage?”

    No. Next question.

    Speaking as someone who would have had a hell of at time getting married in a house of religion (assuming we could have found one to conduct the ceremony for two people of different faiths), I’m really glad we were able to get everything done at the county courthouse.

    “Just let the churches handle marriage,” is the kinder, gentler tack from the religious right. They can keep it.

  • wp121606

    The only “agenda” gay people have is to live their lives free of the shackles placed upon them by a bigoted majority!

  • jwbales

    I am a gay man, but I do not think that there can be a gay gene. Our values are learned, not inborn. Currently little is known about how we form our sexual values, only that they are formed at an early age and manifest themselves at puberty fully formed and independent of our will. If it were not for the fact that so many value the opinions of ancient goat-herders over the judgment of their own minds, homosexuality would not be an issue in modern society.

  • booker1959

    That’s great for you, but it doesn’t speak to those same-sex couples of faith who might feel–as many straight couples do–that a strictly secular ceremony doesn’t fully complete their union.

    I know it’s hard to our minds around concepts we don’t personally hold, but at least let’s remember we’re not all the same in every way.

  • richtoot

    Jaylow, let me introduce you to social science.

    It explains a great deal beoynd genetic predisposition.

  • Inis Magrath

    “…it doesn’t speak to those same-sex couples of faith who might feel–as many straight couples do–that a strictly secular ceremony doesn’t fully complete their union.”

    I understand, but you will never in this country with our 1st amendment have the right to force a religion to perform same-sex marriages against their wishes. Your choice is to find a faith that embraces marriage equality.

  • Inis Magrath

    jay_low, I’m Jewish. But, I don’t think there’s a gene that MAKES me Jewish so by your logic I guess I’m not entitiled to equal rights as a citizen?

  • JulesK

    Except I didn’t say people shouldn’t have the choice of having the ceremony in a church (mosque, synagogue, temple, sacred grove…).

    Handing marriage over to religious orgs completely would create a lot of trouble for people who don’t want the religion part in their nuptials. Or couldn’t get married if that was their only choice.

  • HalflifeToolmaker

    I was listening to the radio Tuesday morning when Glen said it, loud and clear. I should send him a bill for removing the coffee stains from my trousers…

  • amelia45

    There could be a place for a dual “marriage” process – one civic and one religious. The civil process – a marriage before a judge with a civil required marriage license – would include all the legal benefits of marriage, the 1000+ federal laws and any state laws that give rights, privileges, and responsibilities of marriage. This civil marriage would apply to adults who want to marry each other – straight or gay. At this point in time, it would not include multiple wives/husbands simultaneously – we are not ready for that.

    A second ceremony could be religious, it would not involve any government required licenses and would be based on whatever criteria the religion required/offered. Of course, there would be no civil/legal federal or state benefits associated with this marriage ceremony. It would strictly be for faith purposes.

    I could live with that. I think this is how it is done in France.

  • Graceprice

    “We just need libertarians and people on the right to understand you are a libertarian constitutionalist first. You’re not a Republican. You are a constitutionalist, “ he said.

    Is Glenn Beck not aware that there already is a Constitution Party?

  • jay2drummer

    Can you point me to the “black gene”? How about the “short gene”? Or the “mentally challenged genes”? Just because we haven’t isolated genes doesn’t mean there isn’t solid evidence to show something is a born trait. It just means we still haven’t finished mapping out genetic code.

  • Catken1

    “So if you were born gay, where’s the gene? Science for libs is only used for their agenda. ”

    Doesn’t matter. You don’t need to prove to government that you have no other choices than the one you want to make in order to justify your liberty to make your own choices. Government has the burden of proof when they want to limit your liberties, to prove that your choices are dangerously and unduly harmful to other people.

    The right to marry a same-sex partner ought not to be granted condescendingly because gay people have no other options, but freely because gay people have the same right to choose their own consenting adult spouse as anyone else.

  • jay2drummer

    THAT ALREADY IS THE CASE!!! How many times does this have to be explained. These changes only apply to “Civil Marriage.” It is a completely separate, unrelated other than in name, to “Religious Marriage.” The only legal requirement for government to recognize a marriage is a state-issued marriage license. If you don’t get that, you can still have a religious ceremony, but it’s not legally valid. On the other hand, you can simply go to a judge and get a civil license, and no religious ceremony, and it is completely legally valid. A religious leader (like anyone) can get certified to officiate a marriage, meaning simply that they can serve as a witness to the signing of the marriage license, but a legal marriage can also take place without a religious ceremony ever coming up.

  • practica1

    So first Beck was a fanatic Catholic until he saw he’d get more out of Mormonism – now is he going to convert to homo- or bi-sexuality, since he’s bored with his status quo???

    Eeew. This guy is about as useful as a sexual commentator as Marcus Bachmann.

  • chrisbrown12

    Beck is not to be taken seriously. The man writes comic books that he claims are histories.
    It’s strange to hear he’s a mormon. Why didn’t Romney hitch him to his campaign wagon?

  • thesegoto11

    As a heterosexual, do I have an “agenda”?
    I can’t see one when I look in the mirror, so I’m just asking. . .
    Glenn Beck has about as much right to be a celebrity as Anna Nichole Smith did. Well, maybe two reasons less, actually.

  • allinthistogether

    I’m all for marriage equality, and we just won legalization (confirmed legislation) of that right in Maryland last month. What I find most perplexing about the exerpts from Beck’s ruminations is his belief that all people who believe that the constitution is the foundation and the constrainer of our government will agree with his interpretation of the document. The Constitution leaves many, many, many questions unanswered, and many directions unexplored. Anyone who maintains that the document is a sacred “revelation” from the founding fathers is setting themselves up for internal and external conflict. There certainly was no comfortable consensus on the part of the writers. Is Beck being naive, or savvy?

  • David Gerhardt

    It’s called Holy Matrimony.

  • David Gerhardt

    Not exactly true. As a 60 y.o. gay man my agenda is that every future generation has positive role models that I didn’t have when I was in my closet. No child should have to live in the shame our society places upon our minorities. Education is an outstanding agenda. Political activism is an outstanding agenda. Raising our children to be happy adults is an outstanding agenda. Gay Marriage is just another civil right that we are fighting for. I am proud how far we have come and excited by our future.

  • David Gerhardt

    Sexuality is not a value. If heterosexuality is genetically inbred, there is no reason not to believe that homosexuality is a natural trait as well, and possibly an evolutionary change as we reach population saturation. Who knows? It is very common in many species, and highly regarded in some cultures. An open mind is a valuable asset.

  • LibertyFirst

    The states never gave the federal gov’t the authority to decide matters of marriage. Therefore, those the marriage issue should be decided by the states. That’s the result if we simply follow the rule of law. Although, I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman, I don’t want the federal government assuming authority that it was never granted. Thoughts from others???

  • jay2drummer

    Whether or not a state recognizes marriage is a states’ issue. What benefits they attach to it is a states’ issue. What the state legally calls the institution is a states’ issue. But states don’t get to violate federal laws, one of which is the 14th amendment in the US Constitution. That means that states don’t get to pick and choose who gets equal protection under law.

  • jay2drummer

    “Holy Matrimony” is completely different from state recognized marriage. Holy matrimony is a religious institution. It carries no legal standing, whatsoever, under civil law.

  • LibertyFirst

    That still doesn’t give the federal gov’t the authority to decide matters of marriage. And even if it does, the same-sex marriage advocates’s definition is not all-inclusive. Some consenting relationships will still not be recognized as a marriage.

  • jay2drummer

    Any couple that chooses to enter in the contract would be eligible for full protection, so long as they are legally allowed to enter into contract. Which consenting relationships are not recognized? If you mean polygamy, if you can show that they are being denied equal protection, you might have a claim. If you mean incest, that’s because there is scientific evidence to show children produced by close relatives are more at risk of being born with physical, mental, or developmental disorders. If you mean pedophiles or bestiality, neither a child nor an animal is a legal adult, meaning neither is eligible to enter into a contract.

  • LibertyFirst

    I’m only recognizing that the same-sex marriage proponents also have a limited definition of marriage. They just don’t like the limited definition of traditional marriage proponents.

    The main purpose of my comments however are that the federal gov’t has no business getting involved in the marriage debate. The issue should remain at the state level. States have different laws regarding drinking age, driving age, different requirements for getting a marriage license, etc. Let the people decide at teh state level.

  • jay2drummer

    And by “limited definition” you mean “all people, regardless of how they were born, have the same rights and access”?

    And it’s great to say that states have no business being involved in marriage. But that’s a separate issue. Right now they are. And they attach rights and protections to marital status. Meaning the federal government not only has the right, but the obligation to step in if the states are applying it in a manner that denies equal protection for all citizens.

    As for drinking age, driving age, age to get married, while states have different laws regarding them, all states also have laws that apply equally to all citizens/residents of that state. People don’t get to vote to violate the Constitution, no matter how much of a majority.

  • LibertyFirst

    You could say then, that all people have the right to marry an individual of the opposite gender. This would apply equally to everybody.

    I personally believe no gov’t state, local, fed, should have any say in the matter. Let people enter into a marriage relationship like they enter any other contract.

  • jay2drummer

    That’s great that you believe that. But that’s not the situation that exists. And saying gay people have the right to marry someone of the same gender is like saying heterosexuals would have the right to marry someone of the same sex. But, let me put it in terms you may understand:

    I go to my son’s class and bring cookies for all the kids. Here’s the catch, I have peanut butter cookies for all the boys and oatmeal raisin for all the girls. And they don’t get to switch, even if some of the boys prefer oatmeal and some of the girls prefer peanut butter. Or if some of the boys are allergic to peanuts or some of the girls are allergic to raisins.

    Or, for that matter, it’s like saying we should not have forced all states to recognize interracial marriage, since anyone had the right to marry anyone of their race they wanted.

  • LibertyFirst

    You’re describing examples that show why government shouldn’t be involved in marriage…..that’s what the focus should be.

  • H-Bomb

    I really dislike just about everything that comes out of Beck’s mouth, but damn I love that shirt!

  • jay2drummer

    Shouldn’t be is one thing. But they are. And so long as they are, they have to enforce the laws equally. Whether they should abolish the laws is a different issue. If you get rid of marriage laws altogether, yes, the issue goes away. But UNTIL THE DAY WE GET RID OF ANY AND ALL STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RECOGNITION OF MARRIAGE, the ONLY Constitutional option is to provide equal protection. That means you extend the same rights to same sex couples and their families that you provide for heterosexual couples and their families. If we decide the best way to do this is by getting rid of marriage, fine. But right now, that’s not the case. Right now, as of today, states recognize and attach rights and protections to marital status.

  • LibertyFirst

    I disagree that the law is not treating everybody equally by defining marriage as one man with one woman. As I said earlier, the federal gov’t has no authority on this issue. The states can define marriage as they see fit, and they’re actually doing this.

    Also, married couples and parents receive tax benefits that singles and the childless do not, yet nobody says this violates the 14th Amendment.

    Every attempt to define marriage will exclude somebody. So, we need to get over the fear of excluding a group of people from government-recognized marriage….even if marriage is defined by same-sex marriage advocates.

  • itsthedax

    This was all settled when the Supreme Court ruled on Loving v. Virginia. Marriage is a protected right for all free people, and is guaranteed under the 14th Amendment.

    In this country everyone has equal rights and protections under the law. To start limiting the freedom of any minority group means that everyone stops being equal. That’s not just evil, it’s un-American.

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