The truth about states’ rights

Rick Perry stirred up a debate in the Republican party when he told reporters that he did object to New York legalizing gay marriage since this was a matter was best left to the states.

Gary Bauer, president of American Values, expressed outrage. A couple of quotes are revealing.

The 10th Amendment and states’ rights is very important to conservatives, but it’s not our highest value.”

“There are some things so fundamentally wrong that we have not left those things up to the states.”

Bauer and his conservative allies are embracing the principle that most Americans practice: States rights matter–unless something matters more.

Both liberals and conservatives are willing to put aside states’ rights to pursue higher values or right things that are fundamentally wrong. Perry’s firm stance for the Tenth Amendment illustrates the lack of commitment to the Tenth Amendment and should open an interesting debate on where states’ rights stands with Americans.


It turns out that Perry is a little more flexible on states’ rights than I thought. He would support overriding the Tenth Amendment with constitutional amendments that took away states’ rights to define marriage or permit abortions.


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