Put another way, who do you want deciding who should get married: individuals or politicians?

If we’re going to be the small-government party, getting government out of the business of marriage seems to be a natural step. Conservatives believe in the rights of individuals and personal responsibility. Allowing people to marry the person they love — building strong commitments and communities along the way — helps foster personal responsibility.

At the same time, religious institutions should have their rights protected. No religious body should be required to perform or recognize marriages they don’t support. Our federal and state Constitutions give us the freedom to exercise our own religious convictions and stop us from imposing our beliefs on others.

Supporting same-sex marriage is both the right thing to do and a political imperative for our party. Recent polling shows Republicans are viewed as out of touch, stodgy and opposed to change. Unfortunately, that’s because it’s been too often true as of late.

Voters under the age of 30 support same-sex marriage at overwhelming rates — recent polls show that a staggering 80 percent of young Americans believe same-sex couples deserve the freedom to marry.

If Republicans don’t engage these young people on our core issues of less government, more freedom, greater personal responsibility, more opportunity and true entrepreneurship, we run the risk of losing their support for decades.

We should get government out of the way and allow individuals and their faiths to decide how they should live their lives. Then we can return to the issues of less spending, lower taxes and more accountability that matter to all of us.


Brian McClung, a public-relations professional, was press secretary, director of communications and deputy chief of staff to Gov. Tim Pawlenty.