CD8: Paton, Kelly Both Criticize California Court Ruling on Gay Marriage & Oppose Federal Benefits for Domestic Partners

Republicans Jesse Kelly and Jonathan Paton, who are facing off in the Congressional District 8 Republican primary that voters will decide next Tuesday, Aug. 24, both say a federal judge should not have ruled that Prop 8, the California law limiting marriage to one man and one woman, was unconstitutional.

“It was an example of judicial activism that overturned the will of the people in that state,” Paton says.

Kelly echoes that sentiment.

“It really is a travesty that, once again, an activist court overruled the will of the people,” Kelly says.

Paton says that if federal courts continue to say that bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, he’d support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman.

Kelly is more nuanced in his approach to amending the U.S. Constitution.

“Marriage should be defined by the states,” Kelly says. “However, if activist courts continue to overrule the will of the people, then what we need is a constitutional amendment driving home the fact that the states decide marriage.”

Both men oppose efforts to expand federal benefits to domestic partners of unmarried federal employees, as the Obama administration has granted in some cases. (Details here.)

“Now is not the time to be increasing government benefits,” Kelly said via email. “We need to move toward personal ownership of our health insurance policies, similar to how auto insurance and term life currently work. We should allow individuals to deduct health insurance costs and to pool their buying power in order to make coverage more affordable. I also support purchasing coverage across state lines.”

Paton said he’d support efforts to legislatively block benefits for the partners of gays and lesbians, but declined to elaborate.

The winner of the primary will face Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in November.