Political Parties And Social Issues
Political Parties And Social Issues
Matthew Jones (Political Science Instructor) gives expert video advice on: Which parties support gay marriage?; What party supports abortion rights?; What are the major party positions on euthanasia? and more...
Which parties support gay marriage?
In terms of the two main parties neither one of them officially is pro gay marriage. You noticed that with John Kerry who kind of said I'm actually against gay marriage, but I'm for civil unions. They dance around that one, because it's too much of a controversial issue. In functional practicality though, the Democratic Party is more willing to move in the direction of gay marriage, including civil unions, including those sorts of things. And certain state Democratic Parties are more willing to be formally for gay marriage than the Republican Party is. And the Republican Party tends to be more formally opposed to gay marriage with things like the Marriage Amendment to the Constitution, those sorts of things.
What party supports abortion rights?
Abortion rights is much more of a clear-cut stance. The Democratic Party, in terms of the major parties, the Democratic Party tends to be for abortion rights. Definitely against outlying abortions, for legal abortion. The vision that Bill Clinton outlined: safe, legal, and rare tends to be the position that the Democratic Party tries to promote publicly. The Republican Party, though less dogmatic about it, tends to be against abortion rights. Not against abortion rights per say, but definitely more willing to limit abortion, definitely more willing to put restrictions on abortion, definitely more willing to consider outlawing abortion in many circumstances. Though generally the party doesn't promote it in all circumstances. The Libertarian Party tends to be for abortion rights because they don't want the government interfering in individual lives. The Green Party tends to be more liberal, so it also tends to support abortion rights. The Reform Party, which was started by Ross Perot, under Pat Buchanan was anti-abortion. However, Jesse Ventura was also part of the Reform party and he was more liberal on abortion, so it can kind of go either way. Then there's this thing called the Constitution Party, which call themselves the true conservative party, and it is definitely against abortion rights.
What are the major party positions on euthanasia?
In terms of formal major party positions, euthanasia doesn't tend to be a priority for our two major parties. However, the propensity of Democrats is to be more for euthanasia, and the propensity of Republicans is to be more against euthanasia. Those are large segments of each of those parties that go the opposite direction. But, using a modern example, with the Terry Schiavo situation, we saw the Republican Party was definitely more queasy about the idea of somebody terminating a loved one's life, and definitely more queasy about terminating their own life. A lot of this has to do with the religious predilections of the Republican electorate. And on the opposite side, the Democratic party, their constituency and their religious, or non-religious value systems tend to be more willing to allow the idea of somebody terminating their own life.
What are the major party positions on gay rights?
Formally, both parties will support gay rights. If you look at gay rights in terms of equal rights in the workplace, non-discrimination in terms of employment or in terms of offering goods and services or the idea that it's wrong to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation, both parties formally support those general positions. When you get into the details, that's where the differences start to come out. This, in terms of looking at marriage, or being more willing to look at marriage, if you call that a rights issue, that's where the Democrats are more willing to go down that road, and the Republicans are not. Also, when it comes to employment discrimination with religious or faith based institutions which are a lot of times, especially currently, where the rubber meets the road on this issue. Where the idea is, is now you've got gay rights and religious expression clashing. Because if you have a evangelical, southern Baptist church or orphanage, let's say, that has biblical stands against gay, against homosexuality, and a homosexual person comes and wants a job there, the question is: if that orphanage accepts state money, a grant from the state, can it say, "I'm sorry, you're against our biblical role view, which is the reason we are doing this orphanage. So no, we're not going to employ you"? Or, if they accept state money, do they have to have non-discrimination against homosexuals? The Republican party is more willing to side with the religious organization. The Democratic party is more willing to side with the individual gay person.
What are the major party positions on medical marijuana?
This one doesn't really fit very easily into major party positions. In one sense you could say that liberals are more willing to legalize or to use medical marijuana or to accept medical marijuana as valid and conservatives tend to be more law and order. Tend to associate marijuana with hippies or the counter culture or other sorts of less than law abiding citizenry and so they are less willing. But in terms of the official party positions, it doesn't fall along party lines very easily. There is, more likely, a lot of republicans, especially of the libertarian stripe, who tend to be okay with medical marijuana and even legalizing marijuana and there is a lot of democrats who aren't of that libertarian stripe. Who are more union or social conservative or blue collar, working democrat representatives who tend to dislike marijuana and so it doesn't necessarily fall along party lines quite so easily.
What are the major party positions on the drug war?
Both parties are, in terms of when you get into hard drugs like crack cocaine or heroin or pcp, lsd those sort; acid. Both parties are in agreement that those should remain illegal and that they should, we should put enforcement into keeping those things illegal. When you go into the things like marijuana or whether marijuana should be legalized or not, then it doesn't quite follow along the party lines. There's some Republicans with a Libertarian stripe who are okay with legalizing marijuana. And there's Democrats who tend to be more blue collar or working class who are definitely not okay with legalizing marijuana. However, in terms of the drug war, Democrats tend to be less willing to fund the drug war than Republicans are. Again this isn't a very hard stance and it's kind of loose. But over all I think I would be confident in saying that Republicans seem to be more willing to fund more money to fighting the drug war. And that goes into their law and order, law enforcement stance.