Gary Johnson: Lone Candidate Actually Seeking To Bring About Marriage EqualityMay 17, 2012Posted in Blog, News
By Craig Schlesinger
It should come as no surprise that the wedge issue of gay marriage is receiving plenty of attention in yet another election cycle. This time around, however, there is added fuel to the fire.
North Carolina recently passed an amendment to their state’s Constitution defining marriage as one man and one woman. On the heels of another famous “Biden Blooper,” President Obama decided to speak out the day after the North Carolina vote and proclaim his “personal” support for gay marriage while simultaneously insisting that this issue is best left to the states, effectively doing nothing.
This move by Obama reeks of political opportunism and partisan grandstanding. By staking out this position, he can safely support the idea of marriage equality without ruffling feathers in the more socially conservative states that he carried in 2008 (like North Carolina and Indiana) and desperately needs to carry again in 2012.
While libertarians are all about states rights, there is a larger issue at hand – can states amend their respective constitutions to discriminate against those seeking to marry, a right the Supreme Court holds as fundamental? As seen in the recent case of California’s Prop 8 (as well as prior decisions), the courts quickly strike down such laws and amendments as unconstitutional.
Answers to this seemingly complex issue are actually quite simple. The ideal libertarian policy position is that government shouldn’t even be regulating marriage. Marriage is simply a private, contractual affair between individuals that need not be sanctioned by the state. Therefore, the state’s only role in the marriage business is to enforce such contracts.
Given that the ideal libertarian position on marriage is not likely to gain much traction, a more pragmatic libertarian solution is to grant the LGBT community marriage equality at the federal level, since removing the word marriage from federal law would be an exercise in futility. As it stands, the current law (Defense of Marriage Act) – which the Obama administration refuses to enforce, yet remains in full effect for use by future presidents – is discriminatory and unconstitutional. And we thought the civil rights movement was over with and successful…apparently not quite yet.
At the heart of the matter is the Lockean natural rights argument, a favorite amongst libertarians. That is to say individuals have rights, not groups. In that context, either all individuals have the right to marry – whether gay, straight, lesbian, or otherwise – or they don’t. Marriage is not some special privilege granted to a certain segment of the population by the state’s benevolent overlords.
Moreover, all this talk of the sanctity of traditional marriage is a perversion and misunderstanding of history. Within the last fifty years interracial and interfaith marriages were outlawed and castigated by society until the Supreme Court struck down such laws as unconstitutional, holding the right to marry as fundamental.
And let’s not forget the original purpose of marriage – the trade of women as chattel in exchange for political alliances, munitions, foodstuffs, gold, mercenaries, and elevation in society.
Should you decide to eschew Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson in favor of one of the power hungry, self-serving, calculating candidates brought to you by our entrenched political duopoly, you’ll be left with two unappealing options regarding marriage equality.
On the one hand is Obama’s all-bark-no-bite lip service to appease his base and round out his expanding list of inspired empty campaign promises. On the other hand, you can cast your lot with the defenders of so-called traditional marriage – which for centuries involved dowries, slave wives, and concubines. However, you might not want to align yourself with social conservatives and the morally self-righteous on yet another issue in which they wind up on the wrong side of history.
If you truly value civil rights and equal protection under the law, then the choice is clear in that there is no choice. The candidates representing the political establishment care little for these values and merely utilize them as a tool for their own political machinations. In the 2012 presidential race, only Gary Johnson supports the values of freedom and individual liberty for all Americans.
Gary Johnson truly is the lonely man there on the corner shouting for marriage equality now! But he waits, every day now, and he’s just waiting for that something to show; and that something is the American people’s rejection of a broken two-party system.