In a 2013 New York Times profile, the president’s daughter, Patti
Davis, reminded everyone of her father’s opposition to a California
ballot measure that would have banned gay teachers from working in public schools, and recalled a very telling incident from her youth…
“Once when she and her father were watching a Rock Hudson movie, Ms. Davis said, she remarked that the actor ‘looked weird’ kissing his female co-star. She said her father explained that Mr. Hudson ‘would
rather be kissing a man,’ and conveyed, without using the words
homosexual or gay, the idea that ‘some men are born wanting to love
This was a simple acknowledgement of reality, just as Nevada
Republicans at this year’s convention acknowledged the political
reality that, like it or not, for better or worse, legal gay marriages
in this country are inevitable.
The fact is the general public’s views on and acceptance of gay
marriage have changed dramatically over the last 10 years, especially
as more and more younger citizens have entered the voting population.
Legal gay marriages are also inevitable because of the equal
protection clause in our Constitution and because of the precedent
established by the United States Supreme Court in the 1967 Loving v.
Virginia landmark decision in which the court declared, in striking
down that state’s ban on interracial marriages, that marriage was a
One of my favorite Reagan quotes is this: “Government’s first duty is
to protect the people, not run their lives.”
It is not the government’s proper role to determine who can marry who.
If anything, this controversy shows the danger of an ever-expanding
“nanny state” government. In fact, the real problem here isn’t letting
gays into the institution of marriage, but the decision made many,
many years ago to let the government into the institution of marriage.
Again quoting Reagan, “Government is not a solution to our problem,
government is the problem.”
This is not to say, of course, that all Republicans are now supporters
of gay marriage. They surely are not. What the Nevada GOP’s decision
says is that limited-government Republicans of good conscience can be
on opposite sides of this issue and still be good Republicans.
This was surely neither an easy decision, nor a popular one with
social conservatives. But it was the right decision, as history will
bear out over time. And as the first state GOP party in the nation to
make such a bold move, Nevada Republicans can be proud for making a
decision that other states will now certainly follow.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public
policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at