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Ronald Reagan: Same-Sex Marriage Advocate?
Townhall.com ^ | May 1, 2013 | Paul Kengor

Posted on 05/02/2013 3:46:58 AM PDT by Kaslin

Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan's daughter, recently speculated on where her father might stand on same-sex marriage. Politico published her thoughts under the headline, "Patti Davis says Reagan wouldn't have opposed gay marriage."

The impact of the article was immediate. A quick Google search yielded multiple follow-up articles and blog posts. Liberals nationwide were off and running with a new same-sex marriage endorsement: this one from Reagan, the conservative's conservative.

This is not the first time liberals have rushed to recast Reagan according to their policy preferences. Immediately after his death in June 2004, he was trotted out as a poster-boy for embryonic stem-cell research.

Please, not so fast.

In Davis' defense, she starts with a crucial point about her father, one liberals had utterly refused while the man was alive: "He was a very tolerant person."

Indeed, Reagan was tolerant -- on religion, on race, on ethnic differences, on differences of opinion on many things, and also toward gays. As Davis notes, "He did not have prejudices against gay people." Davis gives just a few of many examples.

But she then goes where I don't think we should. She states of her father and same-sex marriage: "I don't think he would stand in the way of it, at all. I don't think he would stand in the way of two people wanting to make a commitment to one another."

Davis then uses an argument that is libertarian (which Reagan was not), and which fails to understand the essence of conservatives' objection to same-sex marriage: "I also think because he wanted government out of peoples' lives, he would not understand the intrusion of government banning such a thing. This is not what he would have thought government should be doing."

The problem with that statement, applied to the same-sex marriage debate, is this: Conservatives object to the federal government rendering unto itself the unprecedented ability to redefine marriage. Such is a massive step toward government intervention (one that should worry libertarians), toward powerful government, toward big government -- not restrained and limited government.

It is a step that breaks entirely new ground in not only American history but human history, one with unimaginable and extraordinary effects yet to come on the family, the culture, the economy, government services and (among others) the court system.

The essence of conservatism is to preserve and conserve time-tested values that have endured for good reason and for the best of society and for order. Conservatives -- which is what Reagan was -- aim to conserve. By their nature and definition, conservatives do not rush into radical changes or what they fear may be another fad or fashion or popular demand. They also, by their definition, ground their ideals in both natural law and biblical law.

I know that secular liberals don't want to hear religious arguments against same-sex marriage, but, if we're talking about Reagan (and conservatives), we cannot exclude them.

Contrary to the image of him as president, Reagan was very religious and would not have so easily consented to a culture suddenly demanding the right to redefine what the scriptures (Old Testament and New Testament) say clearly about a man and a woman leaving their parents and coming together to form one flesh in marriage.

Reagan's religious roots were deep, inculcated by his mother, an extremely devout, traditional Christian, and others who profoundly influenced him in Dixon, Illinois, in the 1920s. He said that "everything" he learned about the values that shaped his life and presidency he learned back in Dixon. It was his "inheritance," one that never left him. Needless to say, Reagan did not learn to support same-sex marriage in Dixon.

Moreover, Reagan was unwavering in his conviction of the importance of a father and a mother raising children and the next generation of American citizens and understood marriage as a vital bond between a man and a woman.

To cite just one example from the final days of his presidency (January 12, 1989), Reagan insisted that "we must teach youngsters the beauty of the loving, lifelong relationship between husband and wife that is marriage."

Yes, Reagan was tolerant of gay people -- as is everyone I know who opposes same-sex marriage -- but that in no way means he would have advocated redefining marriage. Toleration of something certainly does not automatically translate into advocating its legalization.

We could list innumerable things that we tolerate -- including from friends and family and loved ones -- but wouldn't argue legalizing. Even then, that's not quite the issue. The issue, after all, isn't whether homosexuality should be legal (no one objects to that) but whether marriage will now begin a long process of continual redefinition.

It's a form of intellectual laziness for liberals/progressives to reflexively assume that anyone who disagrees with them on redefining marriage is a recalcitrant bigot with no possible legitimate reasons.

After all, same-sex marriage opponents are adhering to the prevailing definition of marriage according to its literal and ancient roots; they believe in the cross-cultural norm that humanity has adhered to since the dawn of humanity, to a human understanding as old as the Garden of Eden. It's remarkably short-sighted to dismiss them as hopeless bigots.

That brings me back to Ronald Reagan.

It's funny, people on the political left spent eight years calling Reagan a bigot. When liberals weren't denouncing him as an unregenerate racist -- the single most unfair charge unceasingly flung at Reagan -- they were saying that he didn't like gay people and did nothing about AIDS because he was happy to let gays die.

Davis remembers this well, as she does the vicious accusation that her father was a nuclear warmonger. To say that liberals were unhinged in their nastiness to Reagan is insufficient. Now, in his death, they'd like to remold him in their own image, crowning him a poster boy for same-sex marriage.

The simple truth is that Reagan was a committed and principled conservative who had thoughtful and firmly grounded reasons for his positions. That, too, ironically, is a fact that liberals ignored, caricaturing Reagan as an idiot, a simpleton, an "amiable dunce," as Clark Clifford famously called him.

He would not have merrily hopped on the same-sex marriage bandwagon without first carefully considering how the issue fit with his understanding of the laws of nature and nature's God, of the first things and first principles that conservatives of Reagan's generation spent years discussing at great length in their books and publications and conferences.

Could we at least agree on this much?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: homosexualagenda; libertarians; marriage; pattidavis; samesexmarriage; sodomhusseinobama

1 posted on 05/02/2013 3:46:58 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Well, if Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy did Reagan’s thinking, maybe Patti is right.


2 posted on 05/02/2013 3:53:49 AM PDT by Theodore R. ("Hey, the American people must all be crazy out there!")
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To: Kaslin

Ronald Reagan said that his greatest regret was that Patti and Ron were not Christians. He didn’t worry much about their leftist politics, he had many liberal friends, but was very concerned about their souls.


3 posted on 05/02/2013 3:55:48 AM PDT by iowamark
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To: Kaslin

Reagan was a great man, but he had to adopt to find a real son and I can’t say much for his daughter either.

I am certain Reagan was accepting of queers, No way you can work in the land of fruits and nuts without at least accepting them as co-workers. Hollywood was chock full of queers in Reagans time, and still is. It’s like a plague out there.

That doesn’t mean he was willing to accept same sex marriage.


4 posted on 05/02/2013 4:03:36 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: Kaslin

Interesting read - on Reagan, and on the proper libertarian view is of gay marriage. I agree with Kengor: a proper libertarian view would never endorse the government coming in an post facto defining any contract that millions of people have already entered into - nor would the libertarian view endorse post facto a governmetn redefining a word millions of people understand as a particular thing.


5 posted on 05/02/2013 4:05:05 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (Tokyo Rove is more than a name, it's a GREAT WEBSITE)
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To: Kaslin

REAGAN would have believed the Bible and shunned pop culture... unlike Cheney.

LLS


6 posted on 05/02/2013 4:11:44 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!)
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To: LibLieSlayer

Correction: President Reagan did believe the Bible


7 posted on 05/02/2013 4:28:18 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin

Oh please...I liked Reagan but he did more to gut the institution of marriage than the homosexuals have.


8 posted on 05/02/2013 4:32:10 AM PDT by Orangedog (An optimist is someone who tells you to 'cheer up' when things are going his way)
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To: Kaslin
The only reason for Reagan's leftist offspring and their collaborating media to speculation on his position - when their are documented quotes from him on the subject - is pure deception.

While Reagan was a friend to many homosexuals and did not support California banning homosexuals from teaching, he clearly spoke out on his opposition to "gay marriage" and the "gay movement":

"Society has always regarded marital love as a sacred expression of the bond between a man and a woman. It is the means by which families are created and society itself is extended into the future. In the Judeo-Christian tradition it is the means by which husband and wife participate with God in the creation of a new human life. It is for these reasons, among others, that our society has always sought to protect this unique relationship. In part the erosion of these values has given way to a celebration of forms of expression most reject. We will resist the efforts of some to obtain government endorsement of homosexuality."

"My criticism is that [the gay movement] isn’t just asking for civil rights; it’s asking for recognition and acceptance of an alternative lifestyle which I do not believe society can condone, nor can I."

These quotes clearly shows that his opposition to banning homosexuals from teaching DID NOT extend to a proselytizing gay movement or a gay corruption of the institution of marriage. It was no more than a Don't Ask Don't Tell position for teachers.
9 posted on 05/02/2013 4:39:11 AM PDT by drpix
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To: Venturer
Reagan was a great man, but he had to adopt to find a real son and I can’t say much for his daughter either.

Reagan got along very well with Ron Jr. Patti was always the problem. Why didn't she go to bat for her father when he was president, saying that he was tolerant? The attacks on him from the Left about AIDS and his wanting to kill gay people was greatly untrue.

10 posted on 05/02/2013 4:39:53 AM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: Kaslin

Right, she knows exactly what he would do now ~ 25 years after he left office.


11 posted on 05/02/2013 4:48:38 AM PDT by sickoflibs (To GOP : Any path to US citizenship IS putting them ahead in line. Stop lying about your position.)
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To: Kaslin

He still does... and he is with the men that wrote it.

LLS


12 posted on 05/02/2013 5:27:58 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!)
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To: Kaslin
"we must teach youngsters the beauty of the loving, lifelong relationship between husband and wife that is marriage."

...says the divorced and remarried Reagan.

13 posted on 05/02/2013 5:43:26 AM PDT by informavoracious (We're being "punished" with Stanley Ann's baby.)
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To: informavoracious

*rme*


14 posted on 05/02/2013 5:46:33 AM PDT by Kaslin (He needed the ignorant to reelect him, and he got them. Now we all have to pay the consequenses)
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To: Kaslin

Sorry, but people often point to what Jesus said about man and woman getting married but leave out what He has to say about divorce. Freepers hate abortion and the gay agenda, but a lot of them love them some divorce. I am allowed to have an opinion about that.


15 posted on 05/02/2013 5:54:52 AM PDT by informavoracious (We're being "punished" with Stanley Ann's baby.)
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To: Kaslin

Great bit of comedy by Patti, who spent very little time with her Father until the end, then she realized he was fading.

I detest this twit, so shallow and souless.


16 posted on 05/02/2013 5:57:33 AM PDT by AllAmericanGirl44
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To: Kaslin

I don’t think Reagan would have been a supporter of same-sex marriage. But I also don’t think he would have supported anything at the federal level to prevent it since he was a small-government conservative and a supporter of the 10th Amendment.


17 posted on 05/02/2013 6:00:03 AM PDT by 0.E.O
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To: informavoracious
' "we must teach youngsters the beauty of the loving, lifelong relationship between husband and wife that is marriage." ...says the divorced and remarried Reagan. '

Reagan did not want the divorce. It was his 1st wife who sued for divorce because she didn't like him devoting so much time to cleaning the Communist out of the Actors' union. From Wikipedia:

"Following arguments about Reagan's political ambitions, Wyman filed for divorce in 1948, citing a distraction due to her husband's Screen Actors Guild union duties..."

18 posted on 05/02/2013 6:46:48 AM PDT by drpix
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To: 0.E.O
"I don’t think Reagan would have been a supporter of same-sex marriage. I also don’t think he would have supported anything at the federal level to prevent it..."

That is not so clear. More than merely not supporting, Reagan spoke of actively resisting what society can not condone. From full Reagan quotes in post #9:

"...We will resist the efforts of some to obtain government endorsement of homosexuality."

"My criticism is that [the gay movement] isn’t just asking for civil rights; it’s asking for recognition and acceptance of an alternative lifestyle which I do not believe society can condone, nor can I."


19 posted on 05/02/2013 6:59:37 AM PDT by drpix
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To: Orangedog

How? I’d really like to know.


20 posted on 05/02/2013 7:09:27 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: Moonman62

Reagan got along very well with Ron Jr.

You mean Sinatra’s kid?


21 posted on 05/02/2013 8:28:15 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: onedoug

I think he signed the nation’s first no-fault divorce law in CA, 1969-70. He said he really regretted it, and the effect was not what he intended. I think it eventually had a lot to do with many accepting state recognized ‘gay marriage.’ After all, to many it’s just a state contract that can be broken and resumed as long as the state gives its permission.

I don’t think he would have been for ‘gay marriage’, maybe civil unions if the were truly open to all instead of only certain people. I really can’t see him buying any ‘civil right’ type angle on it in any case.

Freegards


22 posted on 05/02/2013 9:11:04 AM PDT by Ransomed
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To: drpix

Thanks, I didn’t know that. Today you don’t even need to cite a reason (no fault).


23 posted on 05/02/2013 9:25:16 AM PDT by informavoracious (We're being "punished" with Stanley Ann's baby.)
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To: drpix; informavoracious

Also, according to what I’ve read, Wyman packed Reagan’s bags while he was away on a trip and threw them out of the house. She had an affair with actor Lew Ayres while still married, but even after the affair became public, Reagan was still willing to take her back.


24 posted on 05/02/2013 9:40:26 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon ( (Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization))
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To: Ransomed

Well, that’s not quite as stalwart as your original post. You say he “regretted” the CA no-fault divorce law, but what it may have become I don’t think can be “blamed” on him, or his lack of original foresight.

I’ve got bones to pick with Reagan, but for the “unintended consequences” this isn’t really one of them.

Freegards to you by all means....


25 posted on 05/02/2013 10:13:53 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: AllAmericanGirl44

Nothing surprises me about Patti Reagan. In 1986 when RR was in office, she did her photo spread in Playboy as a big FU to her parents.


26 posted on 05/02/2013 10:21:12 AM PDT by princeofdarkness (The GOP is the present version of 1940 France and it will only get worse.)
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To: onedoug

I’ve only posted once to this thread, FRiend.

In my opinion if he didn’t sign it, someone else would have eventually. No-fault divorce was probably unavoidable once civil divorce and remarriage was accepted by the state. It’s a shame that he was the one, it was regrettable, like he said.

Freegards


27 posted on 05/02/2013 11:46:00 AM PDT by Ransomed
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To: onedoug

Take a look at who was the first governor to sign no-fault divorce into law.


28 posted on 05/02/2013 1:52:51 PM PDT by Orangedog (An optimist is someone who tells you to 'cheer up' when things are going his way)
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To: Ransomed; onedoug
In my opinion if he didn’t sign it, someone else would have eventually.

Like I said, I liked the guy but he doesn't get a pass just because someone else would have done it if he didn't.

Honestly at this point, I don't see what people are getting their panties in a bunch over with the gay marriage thing. What are you all defending...some imaginary right homosexual couple have to be protected from the kind of screwing millions of men get every year in the "family" courts. Their divorce rate will be the same 50% as the rest of us. The community property, the alimony, the child support, the custody fights, the ruined credit, the bankruptcy. They want it that bad...let them have it. It's not like you would be doing them any favors.

29 posted on 05/02/2013 2:04:43 PM PDT by Orangedog (An optimist is someone who tells you to 'cheer up' when things are going his way)
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To: Orangedog

IMHO...NEVER!


30 posted on 05/02/2013 2:52:36 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: onedoug

Okay. Personally I have way, way bigger things to worry about. I’m content with ignoring this issue to death.


31 posted on 05/02/2013 3:07:31 PM PDT by Orangedog (An optimist is someone who tells you to 'cheer up' when things are going his way)
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