Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Gay Republican: Oxymoron, or Just Moron?

Gene Stone over at asks a good question:
Why would any gay man or woman belong to a party that has stated, over and over, as clearly as can be, without equivocation, that he or she is not welcome?
Then he answers his own question:
Today the bottom line is that there simply is no excuse left for any gay man or woman to embrace a party whose prime agenda is to stop him or her from enjoying the same rights as every other American.

Read George Bush's lips: The party doesn't want you. Can you hear that? It doesn't want you. You can't pretend any more that you can change it. It doesn't want you. You can't make a difference. It doesn't want you.
Is that clear enough? (Any Log Cabin Republicans listening?)

On the other hand, we Libertarians want you! We have been LGBT-friendly since our first national platform. And I couldn't begin to name all the gay and lesbian Libertarians who have run for public office, all the way up to the top of the ticket.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Libertarian candidate for Alabama Governor gets it right

Often, when I talk with Democrats about the fact their candidates have no problem hurting LGBT people to win a vote, despite overwhelming support from the LGBT community for decades now, they claim that such is only the case in "conservative" states where "everyone" is anti-gay.

That makes perfect sense, because John "marriage is between one man and one woman" Kerry is from that ultra-conservative home of the vast right-wing conspiracy, Massachusetts. Same for Hillary "traditional marriage" Clinton from the fascist bastion of New York.

But in Alabama, there is at least one gay-friendly person in politics, and it's the Libertarian Party's candidate for Governor, Loretta Nall.

If elected Governor of Alabama I will veto any ban on gay marriage.

How refreshing. When the Democrats running for the office of Governor put "Bible literacy" (I kid you not) and their own criminal defense over gay rights, the small community of LGBT activists in Alabama are truly insane if they once again endorse the Democrats.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Castro and Community Standards

Now that Heather and her two mommies want to move into San Francisco's notoriously colorful Castro district, it seems they aspire to scrub it squeaky-clean.

All those sex-themed shops. All those muscular and scantily-clad young men, out and about. Mustn't have the kiddies seeing such things, some gay family-values advocates say (and yes, there are such folks).

One of the latest to weigh in on the brouhaha is If you look at NDT's piece, you can see it's traveled quite a route.

Are not the concepts of federalism and local community standards related? If you want to move to the Castro, why should all the people who already live there change simply to accommodate you?

Same mindset as that of the Eastern city-slickers who evicted the stables from our neighborhood because they didn't like the flies. (And you moved to Arizona WHY?!)

Part of the beauty of living in a free country is that you can choose to live with people you like and not with those you don't. This basic libertarian concept is necessary not only for those who oppose gay rights, but also for those who support them.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Could marriage equality make liberals love federalism?

From the New York Times...
'Many liberals who haven't yet moved to Canada have indulged the fantasy of a 'blue state' secessionist movement,' [Richard Thompson Ford, of Stanford University] wrote. 'But the American legal tradition does offer liberals a practical alternative to secession or a condo in Vancouver. It's called federalism, a k a 'state's rights.' Liberals often have a reflexive distaste for decentralization of political power: State and local autonomy strike them as provincial and regressive. But much of the association of federalism with conservative politics is the result of historical accident: There is nothing inherently conservative about limitations on the power of Congress and the executive.'

Decentralization may not be conservative or liberal, but it's certainly libertarian.

Monday, April 24, 2006

They may have won the battle, but we'll win the war

The U.S. District Court in Massachusetts threw out the SLDN lawsuit to challenge as unconstitutional the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on gays and lesbians in the U.S. military.

Looks like the Call to Duty Tour will still be in business this fall semester, after all. And we want Outright to be a sponsor. Please donate.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Feds Agree to Bare All

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) has made some more progress with their Freedom of Information (FoI) Act request. Initially denied by the Pentagaon, and subsequently the subjuct of a lawsuit to have the government disclose their domestic spying activities, the latest developments were reported Friday by
U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer directed both sides to attempt to mediate the issue before going to trial. The Defense and Justice Departments capitulated Thursday and agreed to turn over all relevant information.

Under the agreement, signed off on by Collyer, the Defense Intelligence Agency must turn over its documents by April 27, Defense by May 4 and Justice by May 11.
Outright's earlier blog on the TALON domestic spying case is here.

So-called "Marriage Protection Amendment" to be Voted On

The Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Consitution, defeated last year, is set to be voted on again by the Senate in June. The stated purpose of the proposed amendment is to prevent "jucidicial activists" from declaring legislative bans against same-sex marriage unconsitutional at either the state or federal level, according to proponents. Most experts agree that it would also prevent the states from determining their own legislative policy regarding marriage equality for same-sex couples, and some fear even civil union and domestic partnership laws could be at stake if the amendment is approved.

The Washington Blade covers the debate well in this column, even quoting libertarian David Boaz (executive vice-president of the Cato Institute and author of Libertarianism: A Primer) sharing his states-rights perspective.

While the Marriage Protection Amendment may get over fifty percent support of the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, it hopefully will not get the two-thirds required for a Constitutional Amendmendment. As David Boaz is quoted, "he and most libertarians strongly oppose it," showing once again that libertarians are much more principled when it comes to equality for everyone before the law.

First McCain, now Giuliani

Maybe the McCain/Falwell thing isn't just an anomaly of Presidential ambition. Two stories, one from The New York Times (Giuliani endorses Santorum), and the other from The Associated Press (Giuliani stumps for Christian Coalition's Ralph Reed), make me wonder what's up with supposedly "gay-friendly" Republicans lately.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Do You Trust the State With Your Private Medical Data?

If you have HIV, it seems you have little choice. On Monday California joined all but six holdout states in using the patients actual name when collecting data on HIV cases for reporting to the Federal health authorities.

HIV-positive patients are wise to worry about their privacy. Exposure could jeapardize their jobs, their social standing, or other aspects of their lives.
more . . .

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is demanding an end to using anonymous codes (as California and many states were, previously) because the various agencies couldn't handle the extra complication of coded files with any accuracy. According to L.A. County’s HIV Epidemiology Program, code-based lab case data collected over the last year contain a 40 percent error rate. The CDC will enforce using actual names by making it a requirement for distribution of federal AIDS/HIV related funding to the states under the Ryan White CARE Act of 2000.

All the usual mainstream LGBT suspects, many initally against the bill because of the potential loss of privacy for HIV-positive individuals, became ardent supporters of the change in California when it was learned that nearly $50M of Aids/HIV related federal funding might be at stake. The bill was passed unanimously by both the state house and senate and signed by the Governator. Even big business applauded the new law.

So, let me understand this. Because of the incompetence of some local and state agencies in being able to be both accurate and at the same time keep patients anonymous, patients nationwide now have to trust their state governments to maintain their privacy. And this was all dictacted by a non-elected federal bureaucrats by reissuing regulations for a six-year old law. No one challenged the various agencies to improve their accuracy in handling coded data; everyone immediately caved in to the CDC demands as soon as a money figure was attached. As quoted from the this L.A. Times article:
"We are not oblivious to the stigma of testing positive for HIV," said Philip Curtis, director of government affairs for AIDS Project Los Angeles. But without switching to names-based reporting, California is "likely to lose an enormous amount of funding," Curtis said.
What a bunch of whores.

Traditional marriage group seeks a few liberal allies

And for the "Liberals can't be trusted to protect LGBT rights, either" file, we have this Washington Times article.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

More Whining Christians

Not that I have anything against Christians except when they they discriminate—and when they find out they don't qualify for all those juicy government handouts as a result they then go running to the courts. Just like the Sea Scouts did.
The 30-member Hastings group [the Christian Legal Society] was told in October 2004 that it was being denied recognition, including university funding and benefits, because of its policy of exclusion [of gays, lesbians, and nonbelievers].
The U.S. District Court ruled against the group, rightly denying them taxpayer funds.

The school's attorney gets carried away with his victory, saying . . .
more . . .
"The court has ruled that there is no constitutional right to discriminate."
Well, no they didn't; and yes there is. It's called the "freedom to associate", and the government is told to keep its hands off it in the First Amendment. But he is right in saying that Universities don't have to subsidize the bigots.

I am going to let you in on a little secret of my past: I belong to a national professional Engineering fraternity. In fact I have been a past national officer of said organization. Back then–before most of our current readership was born–this fraternity did not admit women. (In even earlier years, it did not admit blacks.)

Well, guess what. There were some Universities and Colleges that objected to our membership policies, and denied us official recognition. Did we go whining to the courts to force the schools to accept our policy: No. On many campuses we had to exist without official status. We made our bed and we had to lie in it. We recognized ourselves that discrimination against women was not justified in a professional organization such as ours and, through a painful process that cost us some chapters in the short term, we changed our bylaws to allow women to be admitted. My younger sister became my fraternity brother a few years later.

So, I have no sympathy for these clubs that want to discriminate—and then want to be federally funded, too.

Wisconsin Libertarian Opposes Bigotry; Supports Marriage Equality

Scott Milfred of the Wisconsin State Journal brings us this story about Libertarian Ed Thompson, the former Tomah mayor, current Tomah City Council member, and past Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate (drawing 11% of the state-wide vote). If you've ever met Ed, you know he is not the guy to mince words or hide what he truly believes.
Ed Thompson says the No. 1 issue in Wisconsin this year is defeating a Republican-backed constitutional amendment that would emphatically ban same-sex marriage and similar civil unions.
more . . .
The proposed amendment is an "evil thing" that is "so incredibly wrong" it amounts to "lunacy," Thompson declared last weekend at the state Libertarian political convention in Madison.

The GOP-run Legislature is attempting to "pass laws of prejudice against people," Thompson told convention-goers. "If you can accept that, you're not a Libertarian. You're not even an American. You're a bigot."
I'd add that if you are for that, you must be a Republican bigot—if you can accept that, you're likely a Democratic bigot. What self-repecting LGBT person could vote for either of those? Now, back to the Libertarian convention . . .
Thompson's tough talk drew a standing ovation and signaled that public perceptions and political momentum on the controversial issue are changing. [emphasis added]
Thanks Ed, for telling it straight.

Congress wants to micromanage college accreditation

Currently, some college accrediting boards (private institutions, sort of like a "Consumer Reports" for colleges) require an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policy for accreditation. But since this means that religious schools that discriminate against LGBT people can't be accredited, which hurts them when recruiting new students, schools like BYU, Notre Dame, Baylor, Pepperdine, and Samford are pushing a bill through Congress to force these private accreditation bodies to accredit schools that discriminate against LGBT people.

These are the same schools that argue, because they are private and have their own institutional conscience, they ought not be held to the nondiscrimination standards of taxpayer-funded institutions. But yet they use the government to force other private institutions to do something that goes against their own conscience. This is the very definition of hypocrisy.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

McCain pandering or not?

In 2000, Senator John McCain called fundamentalist Christian leaders Falwell and Robertson "extremists" for supporting a federal amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Last month, he apparently patched things up with Falwell and accepted an invitation to speak at Liberty University. But after Falwell publicized McCain's support for banning same-sex marriage, McCain went on the Sunday talk shows to again say he was against a federal amendment banning same-sex marriage (at least for now). So, many (including this blog) have asked if he is pandering to the Christian conservatives to win the 2008 Republican nomination for President

Mark Ambinder correctly points out on National Journal's site that McCain is a pro-war, anti-marriage-equality social conservative and has always been so. In other words, if he ever pandered to anyone, it was to "moderate" Republicans in 2000. His latest comments against marriage equality are merely a return to his "core values."

Good press for Pink Pistols

Good article in Philadelphia Weekly.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pentagon admits spying on anti- "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" groups

It's now April and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) reports at least partial success with their January Freedom of Information (FoI) request to have the Pentagon release the names of LGBT groups surveilled as part of its TALON program. In the documents released by the DoD yesterday, the government admits spying upon groups opposing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy at New York University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Santa Cruz.

When this story first broke in December 2005, it was reported that a "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" protest at University of California Santa Cruz, which included a gay kiss-in, was labeled as a "credible threat" of terrorism by the Pentagon.
more . . .

More admissions may be forthcoming as the DoD digs deeper into their TALON files. It must be a big job answering these pesky FoI requests, sorting through all the potential terrorist groups that have been spied upon, especially when the net is cast so wide as to include gay kiss-ins, Quakers, and also according to the ACLU; Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), and even those peacefully protesting a meeting of the North American Wholesale Lumber Association.

Love Matters

Here's something a little different from the normal blog entry. Tibor R. Machan has given me permission to publish one of his recent essays in its entirety here on the Outright Libertarians blog and website. Professor Machan writes prolifically about philosophy and ethics. I thought this piece to be especially apropos for this audience. So with no further ado...

Love Matters
Tibor R. Machan

Ethics is the primary human concern because it addresses how one ought to live one's life. But difficulties attend this concern big time.
more . . .
First, while nearly everyone confidently makes ethical judgments-even those who are skeptics do, when they decry that others make them-just how to support or defend them is a problem. Most of us turn to our religious upbringing for that but some find it in natural law (which means deriving ethics from human nature) or even social convention. Since, however, there are innumerable religions, multiple conceptions of human nature, and certainly widely differing social conventions, grounding ethics-showing that one's ethical judgments are sound-is a challenge.

Second, even if one is confident that one's foundation for making ethical judgments is solid, what exactly do those foundations support? Sure, probably there are some very basic principles of human conduct-the moral virtues, the commandments, or the like-that could gain support. But more particular judgments-"You should work hard at your job," "You should play fair in sports," "You should help the poor abroad"-are more difficult because one size does not fit all. A parent with five kids perhaps should not focus on providing some aid to the foreign poor, while a well to do single person could well have that as a proper moral objective, among many others.

Now I'll stop there because my main topic is just this one size fits all issue. The recently inaugurated HBO show, Big Love, dealing with polygamy-which is a misnomer, since somehow women aren't deemed to be candidates for having several husbands, even in orthodox Mormonism-brings this to mind. Should all lasting, legally certified romantic relationships be monogamous? Is that what all persons should seek and if not, what else might there be?

As we live longer and longer, the idea of two people declaring their love for each other "'til death do us part" seems more and more dubious. That idea was much more plausible when it meant, as it must have originally, three or five years. Now it can mean fifty or seventy and over such a haul human beings are very likely to change significantly enough not to suit those they married at 20. So divorce appears not to be what Roman Catholics and some other groups think it is, namely, a sin.

Yet even apart from this, perhaps some folks can love many others, deeply, loyally, intimately, just as polygamists contend. I don't know how and I once had an argument that seemed to rule this out. I thought that since we are all unique individuals, when we become fully intimate with another unique individual, that love is itself unique and to try some other at the same time would simply be impossible-it would have to destroy the first one. But I don't know any longer if this holds true-there might be unique individuals who can love several other unique individuals, all equally deeply, intimately. Surely the very fact that we are all unique human individuals suggests that there can be different ways of loving other individuals, deeply and intimately.

When gay marriages were being debated, opponents chimed in with dire warnings about a slippery slope: Soon this will mean polygamy and who knows what else! But why would that be so awful? We have people with very different careers, hobbies, homes, cars, personalities, and so forth and all that seems perfectly OK. Why not people with very different marriages? (And no, bestiality isn't on this slope since a relationship with some member of another species cannot really be a loving-deep, intimate-union; folks, other than perverts, don't really mean it when they say, "I love my car or even cat." Not in that way.)

In most areas of human life it is taken as natural that novelty will emerge. Not only are we ourselves often quite inventive and creative-just consider all the arts, with all the new kinds and types of styles coming from them, or science, technology, fashion, etc.-but even the non-human world around us goes through changes, some of them Draconian, some piecemeal.

I hope you found Tibor's column interesting and thought provoking. If so, you may also want to read Lori Heini's recent post on polygamy.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" lawsuit is dismissed [for now]

The Washington Blade reports on important developments in the Log Cabin Republicans' lawsuit against the government's "don't ask, don't tell" military policy. The California district court judge required they name specific plaintiffs that have standing, before the case can go forward. A similar suit brought by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network apparently is still moving forward in Massachusetts.

Outright Libertarians hope you support ending this unjust policy. See Rob Power's earlier blog about the Call to Duty Tour.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Moscow's Pride and prejudice

Tom Palmer (of the Cato Institute) wrote this Op-Ed appearing in the Washington Blade about Russia and the on-again, off-again Moscow Gay Pride Parade. It's about the relationship between diversity and tolerance on the one hand, and economic success and civil society on the other.
Thirteen years ago, Russia’s democratically elected leaders made the right choice by decriminalizing homosexual love. In doing so, they advanced into the front ranks of modern, progressive, open societies.

The debate over whether to allow a Gay Pride parade in Moscow is a proxy for the much wider debate about whether Russia will choose to be counted among the nations known for creativity in technology, science, art, culture and wealth, or among those known for insularity, prejudice, poverty, and backwardness.
It's a lesson we all should take heed of.

Feingold Comes Out... For Same Sex Marriage

It is being reported by both and that Senator Russ Feingold (D, WI) has announced his support for same sex marriage. Said Feingold . . .
Gay and lesbian couples should be able to marry and have access to the same rights, privileges and benefits that straight couples currently enjoy.
It's interesting that this is coming from the Senator with by far the most libertarian voting record in the Senate with a score of 90%, according to a study by Logan Ferree. By comparison, other leading Presidential contenders such as Senators Clinton (D, NY) and McCain (R, AZ) scored 60% and 47%, respectively, and neither of them supports marriage equality.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"Fearing Fear Itself" About Polygamy

Foes of same-sex marriage get much mileage out of threats that legal gay unions would "inevitably" lead to polygamy.

Yet another issue on which libertarian sanity is needed. Those who'd use government force to manipulate behavior dream up endless scenarios of doom to scare us. The fact is that societies where womens' rights are respected and protected have little or no problem with polygamy.

Libertarians oppose the concept of human beings as property. We also encourage calm, rational thinking on the issues ambitious politicians love to color with fear. When cool-headed debate is encouraged, freedom flourishes.

How ironic that the very crowd so bent on keeping women barefoot and pregnant is the same one trying to stir up such "sky-is-falling" hysteria about polygamy.

For a dose of sanity on the issue, check out this Independent Gay Forum column.