Ignoring the advice of its first president, as well as another Wonderful Counselor, the Republican Party has become a house divided against itself on the issue of marriage. A few candidates remain determined to preserve the definition of marriage that has endured for millennia. Others have suggested political leaders fold their hand, "take a deep breath," and "move on" to issues the candidates find more pressing. After the Supreme Court announced its decision redefining marriage last Friday, the presidential candidates responded, with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Rick Santorum, saying supported a constitutional amendment protecting marriage or leaving the definition up to the states. "The only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage," Walker said. Jeb Bush immediately demurred. "Governor Bush does not believe amending the Constitution is the right course," said Kristy Campbell, a Jeb Bush spokeswoman. "Right now, we should focus on defending religious liberty by protecting those who act on their conscience and appointing judges who understand the limits placed on them by the Constitution." His fellow Floridian and one-time protege, Marco Rubio, agreed. "While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law," he said. Rick Perry did not comment on the amendment specifically, but one of his advisers, Steve Schmidt – a "moderate" who ran John McCain's 2008 campaign – was jubilant that the Supreme Court overturned marriage and hoped Scott Walker would just go home. "At the end of the day, it's an untenable position to be against ultimately millions of actual Americans' marriages and commitments," he said. "This will be the last presidential election where you have Republicans trapped into the positions they have on this issue because it's no longer a political issue. This is a settled issue now." Outdoing them all was Lindsey Graham, the confirmed bachelor closely allied with McCain politically. Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd asked whether the GOP should drop its 2012 platform plank saying, "We reaffirm our support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman." "I agree with Jeb," Graham said. "You can put it in the platform, but it will, in my view, hurt us in 2016, because in my view it is not a process that will bear fruit." "I would not engage in the Constitutional amendment process as a party going into 2016," he said. He ended by giving Republicans their marching orders: "Accept the Court's ruling. Fight for the religious liberties of every American." Meanwhile, on CBS, Ohio Governor John Kasich – who is set to announce his presidential run next month – told Face the Nation host John Dickerson three times that Christians worried about encroachments on religious liberty need to "take a deep breath." "I believe in traditional marriage, but the Supreme Court has ruled, and it's the law of the land, and we'll abide by it," Kasich said. "I think everybody needs to take a breath and see how this evolves." Like Graham, he said religious entities "need to be honored," and he will find a "balance" and "look for a solution where you can create more win-wins" between gay "marriage" and the First Amendment. Rand Paul responded with a libertarian solution: Candidates should privatize marriage but allow anyone to enter into any "contract" with anyone they like. Critics of Paul's ask how matters like next-of-kin or power-of-attorney during end of life issues would be determined in lieu of a marriage contract. The answer is not be to obliterate marriage but to return to its Biblical definition.
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