By Sam Stein
Buddy Roemer, a former Louisiana governor and likely Republican presidential candidate, clarified on Thursday night that while he champions state's rights, even on marriage, he remains committed to and supportive of the Defense of Marriage Act.
In an email to The Huffington Post, Roemer took umbrage with the write-up of an earlier interview he had done with the website.
"The issue of gay marriage is one on which I am clear," Roemer wrote. "As I said in the interview, I am a traditionalist on this issue as is my Methodist Church. A marriage is between a man and a woman. Gays will not be slandered by me or my church, but gay marriage is not an option."
"The Defense of Marriage Act, with which I agree, prohibits the Federal Government from recognizing any marriage not between a man and a woman," he went on. "Each state has the right to set these boundaries within its state, and I would stand with the traditionalists in my state and prohibit gay marriage."
Roemer added that if he were to be elected president, he would instruct his Justice Department to defend DOMA -- something that the Obama administration has decided not to do, citing concerns over constitutionality.
While a bit more explicit and forthcoming in detail, such a position does not contradict what Roemer said in his initial interview with The Huffington Post. On Tuesday, the Louisiana Republican said that he would be fine with a state choosing to legalize gay marriage or some form of civil union, though if he were in that state he would certainly oppose it.
"[T]hat's why we have 50 states," Roemer stated. "They're all a little bit different."
Under DOMA, which is still the law of the land, different they still can be. States can and have legalized forms of gay marriage, but the federal government does not provide any benefits to gay couples. Nor are other states that prohibit gay marriage required to recognize out-of-state nuptials.
Roemer, in short, is being philosophically consistent with his socially conservative brethren; he's just not as much of a political absolutist as some of them.