Ken Mehlman and David Kochel Speak out in Iowa about why Marriage Equa

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Ken Mehlman and David Kochel spoke out in January of 2013 about how marriage equality is consistent with conservatives core values. On the article on the Iowa Republican, you can watch a video of Ken Mehlman's speech as well.

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Ken Mehlman and David Kochel Speak out in Iowa about why Marriage Equa

  1. 1. Ken Mehlman and DavidKochel Speak out in Iowa about why MarriageEquality is Consistent with Conservative Values - Transcript
  2. 2. So the men and women who were here today and the reason that I am here inIowa is to stand with and salute the excellent work of men and women who standin favor of civil marriage because they are conservative, not in spite of beingconservative. If you think about what permitting civil marriage is about it is actuallyconsistent with conservative principles.I’m a conservative because I believe in more freedom and I believe in lessgovernment. I think that we are endowed by our creator- not by politicians, not bythe government, not by a bureaucrat- with inalienable rights including the pursuit ofhappiness. If you believe that, what could be more central to the pursuit ofhappiness than choosing the person that you love that you have the right to marry.What could be a more basic and a more fundamental and a more core right? Aright in which the individual has and frankly the government shouldn’t beinvolved. How could smaller and less intrusive government not include the right tochoose the person that you would like to marry?The second reason that a lot of us are conservatives is that we believe in familyvalues. We think that it is good for society when families are promoted- whenstability is promoted. It is one reason that I for one was proud when I was workingin Congress to have helped out members of Congress that were working on behalfof welfare reform. It is a reason you hear a lot of people talk, and I think rightlyso, about the dangers of family disinigration. These are important things.
  3. 3. So if you believe that, isn’t a good way to promote family values and discouragefamily disinigration to allow families to form in the first place? Isn’t thatimportant, doesn’t that make sense? How does standing in the way of two adultswho love each other discourage rather than promote family values?If you think about it what- in fact- it does (and you’re seeing it across Iowa) is itmakes our society stronger. It makes it more caring. It makes it more focused onthe long term. It creates stability in the lives of children across the country whoare raised by two members of the same gender who are loving moms or lovingdads and- because of what happened in Iowa- now have the stability and securityin the knowledge that their home is now more secure.We are also conservatives because we believe in protecting religious liberty andbecause we believe in the golden rule. Protecting religious liberty. We know thathere in Iowa, that in New York, we know that in New Hampshire, all around thecountry there are civil marriage laws. And what those laws do- in addition topromoting freedom and in addition to encouraging family values- is that theyprotect religious liberties.How? They say that if it’s a church, or a synagogue, or a knights of Columbus, andtheir doctrine says that they don’t perform the ceremony, then the ceremonydoesn’t happen there. And that’s as it should beBut there’s something else. Even though many of us come from different religioustraditions, so many of those traditions are rooted in the golden rule. Do untoothers- put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
  4. 4. So how does that apply here? Well think about it. Put yourself in the shoes ofyour neighbor. Your neighbor works hard like you do. He or she pays the sametaxes that you do. He or she may serve in the same military that youdo. Shouldn’t they be subjected to the same laws? How would you feel if youwere in their shoes and you had special laws that applied to you that precludedyou from marrying the person you loved?Or put yourself in the shoes of the 14 year-old, or the 12 year-old, or the kid that isgrowing up. Sitting on your mom or dad’s counter is a wedding album. And itcelebrates one of the greatest things that happened in their life- when they choseto get married. As you thought about your own future wouldn’t you hope that youhad that same opportunity?So when you do unto others- when you think about the golden rule- it seems to methat allowing civil marriage is also consistent with permitting that to occur. Andthat’s another reason that we as conservatives stand on behalf of civil marriagebecause we are conservatives, not in spite of being conservatives.There are also real world practical implications. I’m talking about conservatism andphilosophy and all that, but there are real world implications that affect people’slives. One of them is before the United States Supreme Court. There is a womanin New York by the name of Evie Winsor. She’s an older woman. She is someonewho had a partner for her whole life and when her partner died she ended up witha more than $700,000 estate tax simply because they were a couple who were ofthe same gender. As conservatives who don’t like taxes and who feel that afundamentally unfair rule like that ought to be overturned shouldn’t we stand withEvie against such an onerous tax? That’s a real world implication.
  5. 5. I have a good friend of mine who lives in New York. A couple. They have beentogether for about 15 years. Because they live in New York and if they came toIowa, when they travel with their children they’re in a good place. But if they go toa number of other states in their country they have to carry papers proving thatthey have custody of the children in case, heaven forbid, that something happenedto one of the children and a medical decision had to be made.The way they got those papers was by a judge sitting in their house for a weekand ascertaining whether they are fit parents. That happens all across Americatoday. Not in Cuba, in America. That is unjust, and it’s unfair, and it’s a verypractical- not philosophical- but practical fact that can be changed when otherstates follow what Iowa has done and civil marriage is available.I have another friend who is in a wonderful relationship with someone who livesoverseas. And every five years this couple has to go through a harrowingexperience about worrying about whether they are going to have to deal with asituation where the couple can stay together. How are they going to do it?So these are real world, actual implications. Not philosophical. Not about mattersabout what you call it or not call it. The fact is that all across our country arecouples that lose their homes, who pay unfair taxes, who worry about makingmedical decisions for their children who they care about and love, and who worryabout whether a loved one overseas can be with their mate for life in thiscountry. And that’s all because other states do not have what we have in Iowa,what we have in New York, and that is the right to civil marriage.Finally, it always interests me when I talk to people about this, what does it meanto have marriage? Think about this state. There are probably four or five thousandcouples who are together today as married couples that weren’t together beforethere was marriage in this state. And what does it mean?
  6. 6. It means a whole lot to that couple. It means their lives are better. It means that ifthey have kids their kids live in a more secure home. It means that if they live inyour neighborhood they are two people, not one, who if you are sick or old thatthey can look after your house, who can mow the lawn if you need the help. Thatcan make sure that if your child is wandering the streets that your child is takencare of.It means that when these folks get older that they will, in fact, be able to care foreach other and the public taxpayer is protected. It means that their families feelbetter knowing that there is someone out there to look after their son or theirdaughter.The fact is that for those 5,000 people and for all the people in their lives, theirfamilies, their neighbors, their friends, their work colleagues, it’s a better place tolive. And who’s at worst for it? Can you find anyone?I was in a discussion with a state legislator in another state and I explained to himwhy I felt that civil marriage made sense. And he said, “I’m against it.” And I said,“Well, you’ve had it in your state for a few years. Can you find me one person,one example where it’s worse? One example where the parade of horriblehappened?” The fact is, he couldn’t.So if you think about it, Iowa is a better place today because of the fact that lovingcouples can be married. It’s a freer place, it’s a juster place, it’s a place withstronger families, it’s a place with stronger neighborhoods, it’s a place withstronger communities.The conservatives who stand here today are not alone. All across our countryfrom Dick Cheney who more than eight years ago to John Bolton to ClintEastwood to Ted Olsen, people who are extremely conservative, who are proud oftheir support of freedom, who are proud of their support of family values who areproud of their support of the golden rule, believe that civil marriage ought to beavailable.
  7. 7. And obviously conservatives are not alone. We saw what happened in the lastelection- more Americans support the right to civil marriage than oppose it and thatnumber continues to grow every day.So I am proud to stand here today with men and women who have taken the term“Iowa first” and have proven it to once again be true. Proven it by standing up firstfor justice, standing up first for freedom, and standing up for conservative andfrankly American values that we look forward to seeing expand across thecountry.I salute the head of One Iowa that we have with us today and I want to salute andthank you for your wonderful leadership and there are a number of One Iowa staff,raise your hands and stand so that we can give you a round of applause.Thank you for being here. Thank you for your leadership. It is an honor for me tostand with you all today and its an honor to be back here in the wonderful city ofDes Moines. And I appreciate the members of the press taking the time to be withus today.For more information on Ken Mehlman’s speech and to watch the video, visitThe Iowa Republican.

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