Ron Paul on Gay Marriage and Abortion, Other Social Issues

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ANALYSIS | Although running on a conservative platform, Ron Paul is more libertarian than Republican. It is interesting to note that the candidate may rightfully consider himself as the father of the American tea party movement. The Boston Globe explained in 2007 that Paul supporters timed a fundraising blitz to coincide with the "234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party," which eventually turned into the much larger movement.

The polling shows that Paul's bid for the presidential nomination is a bit rocky. Gallup outlines that between May 20 and 24 he had garnered 12 percent in support. The numbers remained in the double digits for the most part -- even climbing up to 13 percent in August and September -- only to decrease to 8 percent for the period between October 3 and 7. Nevertheless, he is fourth behind Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Rick Perry.

So where does he stand on social issues?

Ron Paul on Abortion: A Pro-Life Champion

Drawing on his background as a gynecologist who brought more than 4,000 babies into the world, Ron Paul unambiguously declares that "life begins at conception" and the right to life applies to "those born and unborn." Not afraid to tackle the issue head on, he calls for a repeal of Roe v. Wade and plans to pass a "Sanctity of Life Act" that makes his understanding of the beginning of life the law. Furthermore, he calls for a federal defunding of abortions, in particular Planned Parenthood.

To Paul, abortion is a road marker on a "slippery slope toward euthanasia and human experimentation." In a statement consistent with his current stand on the issue, he addressed the legislature in 2003 concerning the partial-birth abortion ban. Even at this juncture, the current presidential candidate did not neglect to highlight that dealing with crimes related to abortion is fundamentally a states' rights issue, not a matter of federal jurisdiction. Although he favored the partial-birth abortion ban, he did not approve of its language that placed legislators into a position to "draw a 'bright line' between abortion and infanticide."

The Candidate on Gay Marriage: A Mixed Bag

His states' rights stand makes it difficult for same-sex couples to peg Ron Paul's opinion on gay marriage. The Human Rights Campaign points out that the candidate did "support the repeal of DADT" (Don't Ask, Don't Tell), but at the same time he also comes out in support of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). It is his unwillingness to favor a marriage equality amendment that makes him a difficult candidate to love for socially progressives.

In fact, a 2004 brief before the House of Representatives highlights that even though Paul opposes "federal efforts to redefine marriage as something other than a union between one man and one woman," he concurrently does not favor an amendment to the Constitution that would protect the current definition of marriage. He continues to point out that marriage was instituted by the people entering into the covenant, not the governments that oversee them.

Ron Paul on Homeschooling, Marijuana

Homeschooling families find a staunch ally in Paul. The candidate advocates the practice and -- putting his money where his legislative mouth is -- called for tax credits to benefit homeschoolers. Once president, he will protect parents' rights to home-school against legislation that seeks to curtail it.

With respect to marijuana, Paul considers the war on drugs a "catastrophe." With his by now trademark consistent position, he calls for the states to regulate drugs -- just like alcohol -- in a way they see fit.

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