One of the questions posed to the four candidates seeking the Republican nomination to succeed Democrat Jim Webb in the U.S. Senate concerned DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act.
The panelist asked the candidates -- George Allen, E.W. Jackson, Bob Marshall, and Jamie Radtke -- whether they supported DOMA and whether the law has a constitutional basis.
Here is a video of the four candidates' answers. The first to respond is Jackson, followed by Marshall -- author of the Marshall-Newman Amendment, which bans gay marriage in Virginia -- Radtke, and finally former Senator Allen, who seems eager to give a perfunctory "yes" answer to the question and then quickly switch to a topic he prefers to talk about, energy and gasoline prices.
After the debate, I was able to ask Bishop Jackson how his position on gay marriage is consistent with a broader position he holds, namely that the government should not interfere with the private, moral decisions of individuals. (Jackson had explained that position to me in an interview a few weeks ago, when he made a campaign appearance in Charlottesville.)
The full interview is available as a podcast on Bearing Drift, and the portion dealing with same-sex marriage is excerpted on Examiner.com. Here is part of what he said:
Jackson conceded that he would not call himself a libertarian and added that “I don’t know that libertarians would call me a libertarian,” but that what he had said previously is that “libertarians like me because they know I lean very strongly into keeping government out of the lives of people.”
E.W. Jackson in Charlottesville
With regard to gay marriage, he added, “you’ve got to remember, what is really happening there is that people who want homosexual marriage are inviting the government to put its imprimatur on what they want to do and to change 6,000 years of human history and 200 years of American policy. So in my view, they’re the ones who are trying to use the government to intrude upon those of us who believe that marriage as it is is just fine.”
The next question was how Jackson would be affected if the gay couple next door were to get married.
“I’m talking about it affecting society, affecting our culture in the long term,” he answered.
“I would turn the question around and say, if you’re going to upend 6,000 years of human history, it is incumbent upon you to prove to me that somehow we’re going to be better off with that.”