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Paul opposes all federal efforts to redefine marriage, whether defined as a union between one man and one woman, or defined as including anything else as well. He believes that recognizing or legislating marriages should be left to the states, and not subjected to judicial activism.
For this reason, Paul voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004. In 2004, he spoke in support of the Defense of Marriage Act (passed in 1996) which uses the U.S. Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause to prohibit states from being compelled to recognize same-sex relationships as marriages, even if treated as marriages in other states. The Defense of Marriage Act also prohibits the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages, even if treated as marriages in other states. He co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Act, which would have barred federal judges from hearing cases pertaining to the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Paul has said that federal officials changing the definition of marriage is "an act of social engineering profoundly hostile to liberty." Paul stated, "Americans understandably fear that if gay marriage is legalized in one state, all other states will be forced to accept such marriages." He says that in a best case scenario, governments would enforce contracts and grant divorces but otherwise have no say in marriage. Paul has also stated he doesn't want to interfere in the free association of two individuals in a social, sexual, and religious sense. Additionally, when asked if he was supportive of gay marriage Paul responded "I am supportive of all voluntary associations and people can call it whatever they want."
In 2005, Paul introduced the We the People Act, which would have removed from the jurisdiction of federal courts "any claim based upon the right of privacy, including any such claim related to any issue of sexual practices, orientation, or reproduction" and "any claim based upon equal protection of the laws to the extent such claim is based upon the right to marry without regard to sex or sexual orientation."
If made law, these provisions would remove sexual practices, and particularly same-sex unions, from federal jurisdiction.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Paul wrote of his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964: It "not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society. Federal bureaucrats and judges cannot read minds to see if actions are motivated by racism.
Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business's workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge's defined body of potential employees.
Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota. Racial quotas have not contributed to racial harmony or advanced the goal of a color-blind society. Instead, these quotas encouraged racial balkanization, and fostered racial strife."
Voting Rights Act
In 2006, Paul joined 32 other members of Congress in opposing the renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, originally passed to remove barriers to voting participation for minorities.
Paul has indicated that he did not object to the voting rights clauses, but rather to restrictions placed on property rights by the bill. He felt the federal interference mandated by the bill was costly and unjustified because the situation for minorities voting is much different than when the bill was passed 40 years ago. Many of Texas' Republican representatives voted against the bill, because they believe it specifically singles out some Southern states, including Texas, for federal Justice Department oversight that makes it difficult for localities to change the location of a polling place or other small acts without first receiving permission from the federal government.
The bill also mandated bilingual voting ballots upon request, and in a letter opposing the bill for this reason, 80 members of Congress including Paul objected to the costly implications of requiring bilingual ballots. In one example cited in the letter, the members detailed how Los Angeles spent $2.1 million for the 2004 election to provide ballots in seven different languages and more than 2,000 translators, although one of the requirements of gaining United States citizenship is ability to read in English, and another California district spent $30,000 on translating ballots per election despite receiving only one request for Spanish documents in 16 years. The legislators also noted that printing in foreign languages increases the chances of ballot error, pointing out a specific example of erroneous translated ballots that had been used in Flushing, New York.
As a free-market environmentalist, Paul sees polluters as aggressors who should not be granted immunity or otherwise insulated from accountability. Paul argues that enforcing private property rights through tort law would hold people and corporations accountable, and would increase the cost of polluting activities - thus decreasing pollution.
He claims that environmental protection has failed in communist countries such as China, citing lack of respect for private property: "The environment is better protected under private property rights .... We as property owners can't violate our neighbors' property. We can't pollute their air or their water. We can't dump our garbage on their property ....
Too often, conservatives and libertarians fall short on defending environmental concerns, and they resort to saying, 'Well, let's turn it over to the EPA. The EPA will take care of us .... We can divvy up the permits that allow you to pollute.' So I don't particularly like that method."