Saturday, September 30, 2006

Is there such a thing as a closeted gay Libertarian?

Yawn... US Rep. Mark Foley Resigns From Congress. Another one?

Between McGreevey and Foley, and several before them, it's clear that there are more than a few closet cases in the Democratic and Republican parties. But can anyone imagine such a thing as a closeted queer Libertarian? I'm not sure how that would even work.

Libertarians place such a premium on the value of the individual that suppressing one's own identity for the sake of the collective seems unthinkable.

Similarly, for most out LGBT people, the thought of being in the closet seems totally alien. So why do out LGBT people continue to vote for major parties that are structured such that elected party leaders feel the need to stay in the closet in the 21st Century? Doesn't this continual outing of middle-aged politicians in both major parties make it clear that neither party is as inclusive of diversity as they claim? When will LGBT voters figure out that voting for the major-party status quo only prolongs our struggle for equality under the law?

Friday, September 29, 2006

An interesting article from the leader of the charge to eliminate the LP Platform

Several months ago, we reported on an effort to eliminate the Libertarian Party platform. The effort largely succeeded, with only a handful of planks surviving, including the Sexuality and Gender plank that puts the LP ahead of all other political parties in its LGBT-friendliness. Yet this wasn't enough for Carl S. Milsted, Jr., who led the charge to gut the platform, because the night of the vote he was overheard saying that he would leave party over what little of the platform that remained. He didn't leave, and it appears that he may be changing his mind about "embarrassing" planks like Sexuality and Gender.

In his September 27 article, Freedom and Equality: They Go Together, he makes the exact point that we were making in our argument to keep LGBT equal rights in the platform. Granted, he never actually says the word "gay" anywhere in it and instead only talks about economic equality, but his basic argument, "Equality requires freedom," and "A free society requires more equality than we have today," supports our position nonetheless. Liberty and Equality are not opposites, but rather they require each other. Thankfully, the Libertarian Party platform still says so.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gay and Lesbian (Democratic Party) Victory Fund

Outright chair Rob Power had a look at the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund's attitude towards gay Libertarian candidates a few days ago.

Despite their protestations of being a "non-partisan" group, the group refused to even consider an endorsement of gay Libertarian Party candidates running competitive races throughout the country, though it has endorsed a number of candidates who have "no hope of winning" running as Democrats in party primaries and general elections. That obviates the typical excuse used to dismiss Libertarians, which is that "we have no chance of winning."

However, increasingly often, a significant number of our candidates not only have a chance of winning, but are running for re-election as incumbents. In addition, the number of elected Libertarians in offices at all levels is expected to significantly grow this election cycle. However, this dynamic has not translated into any meaningful, thoughtful consideration from the Victory Fund. There's one piece of evidence of Democratic partisanship masquerading as "non-partisan lobbying."

However, it's the Advocate which delivers the damning final blow, reporting the skewed nature of GLVF's endorsements:

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, an LGBT political action committee, announced Thursday its support of 13 new candidates. The new endorsements bring the total number of candidates it's supporting this election year to 77, the group's largest number ever.


The fund also endorsed one Republican, Devin Slayton, for Arizona house of representatives, district 11, and one candidate with no party affiliation, Rudy Serra, for Detroit judgeship, district 36.

In other words, in GLVF's busiest-ever election year, a "whopping" 2.6% of their endorsements went to candidates who weren't Democrats.

In short, it would appear that a donation to or support of the GLVF isn't an effort to increase the representation of gay candidates in America's total political system, including the Libertarian, Democratic, Republican, and Green parties (as well as independent affiliation), but rather a donation to Democratic Party candidates who happen to be gay.

Many left-wing Democrats complain ceaselessly about the systemic bias of conservative-leaning organizations such as self-described "fair and balanced" FOX News, and they have a point. Democratic organizations conducting similar deception shouldn't get a free pass either. GLVF should come clean about its partisanship and drop the "non-partisan" pretension by adding its party affiliation to its name -- just like the Log Cabin Republicans, Stonewall Democrats, and yes, Outright Libertarians already have.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What's a 9% annual spending hike between friends?

The Republican Party has been in power for years now, with a monopoly over the legislative and executive branches (and a majority in the judicial branch). So how is the self-described "party of small government" faring?

We have expensive wars overseas, we have massive numbers of American casualties in Iraq; we have an activist foreign policy which would make Wilson jealous; we've received a new and disastrously operated Medicare prescription drug program; we have the government trying to legislate individuals' personal and family lives; and we've endured endless incursions into our civil liberties ranging from illegal wiretaps to efforts to legalize torture.

But at least the GOP is clinging to one small government value--its fiscal conservatism--right? Guess again.

more . . .

Federal spending in 2006 is set to rise 9 percent, the largest increase since 1990 and enough to earn Congress near failing grades from the Heritage Foundation’s third quarter report card.[1] Most families facing steep new expenses would cut back on additional spending. However, the Senate is preparing to bust fiscal year (FY) 2007 discretionary spending caps by at least $32 billion


Senators classify much of this new spending as “emergency” so that it does not technically count against the budget caps.

When we Libertarians have pointed out these facts, we've been blasted as "left wingers." It's hard to see where the Republicans' bona fides come from. Do they come from a profligate Republican Congress blasted by the Heritage Foundation? Perhaps a GOP-developed federal budget which manages to consistently outpace even the spending growth of the big government Clinton-Gore administration?

The honest, forthcoming answers to these questions are likely hidden in the secret vaults containing large stockpiles of Iraqi WMDs.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Reminder: Endorsement meeting via teleconference on Sunday, October 15

If you are a member of Outright Libertarians and did not receive via our email list the notice of the upcoming general membership meeting on October 15, please send us an email, stating whether you want to receive all posts, or only special notices from the officers, and we'll see that you are added to our email list accordingly.

License To Discriminate

The Advocate reports on a civil rights lawsuit being considered by California's high court which has been filed by a lesbian denied fertility treatment:

The California supreme court on Wednesday took briefings in an appeal brought by the gay advocacy group Lambda Legal concerning a lesbian who was denied infertility treatment by her San Diego County doctors because of her sexuality. Despite California’s civil rights law, the doctors say they have the right to not offer the treatment because of their religious beliefs.

Libertarians always honor freedom of association, which includes freedom to choose to discriminate in provisioning services. However, we also oppose cumbersome and intrusive licensing practices which restrict the number of medical professionals who can qualify to provide services in the first place.

Religious-right doctors seem to want it both ways -- free-market style freedom to refuse to treat gays "based on religious beliefs," but heavy government regulation restricting new entrants into the medical profession to protect their revenues. With the approach to health care advocated by the Libertarian Party, we'd have more doctors, lesbians would be able to easily find fertility treatments if their existing doctors refused to provision them, and religious-right doctors would quickly find their businesses collapsing as consumers seek a medical professional who bases his or her services on science and patient priorities, not religious politics.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Libertarian Candidate Reverses Position on FMA

Much to our shock and dismay, Dr. Eric Schansberg, Libertarian candidate for Congress in Indiana's ninth district, while responding to a question about the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA/FMA) during his recent televised debate, was heard saying, "I would vote for an amendment like that."

Outright Libertarians questioned him on his statement. As a result, Dr. Schansberg has publicly retracted his statement and reversed his position on the FMA, sending this clarification to the debate panelists (and to Outright Libertarians):
  • Ideally, the government would not be involved at all in defining marriage

  • If the government is involved, it should be at the state rather than the federal level. The federal government should not prohibit states from coming to their own arrangements.
We commend Dr. Schansberg for taking this principled action. It takes character to admit you made a mistake and publish a retraction. If only the politicians in power would do that—they've been pretty intransigent about their mistakes, and they've made some whoppers!
more . . .

The first point in his clarification is the pure libertarian position, absolutely consistent with Outright's: no government, at any level, should be involved in marriage.

It is on the interim steps to be taken between here and a totally privatized marriage institution that we still disagree with Dr. Schansberg.

Dr. Schansberg takes a "state's rights" position, being justifiably wary of Federal interference in the activities of the states. As a case in point, look at all the "help" the Fed's have given the states in the matter of medical marijuana. Even though ten states have legalized medical marijuana, the DEA is still breaking down doors and prosecuting both the sick and their state-certified purveyors.

Outright Libertarians, on the other hand, believe the 14th amendment gives the Federal government the authority to step in and stop the states in certain well defined circumstances; namely when they violate individuals' rights of due process and equal treatment before the law. We believe that individual rights should be protected, whether the rights violation originates with other individuals (e.g., criminals), the states, or the Federal government. Aid in furthering the protection of our rights is the reason that we have established governments in the first place.

As a deeply religious man, Dr. Schansberg is likely struggling with this issue. Outright Libertarians is proud to have helped move him a good portion of the way toward our position. Now, instead of supporting the FMA as he did several days ago, he wants to get the government out of the marriage business.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Government Homophobia Strikes Again

This story of a gay couple having their business targeted by a homophobic mayor is instructive of why big government, on any level, is a bad idea. Democrats who favor big government say we need it to protect the vulnerable -- but here it is harming a vulnerable minority, gay men. Republicans say that big government should be shifted from the federal government to state and local levels -- where it can abuse citizens just as effectively.

According to witnesses, Mayor Tom Strom said that he was “tired of the two faggots down the street, and if I don’t start getting the support of the ones here, I am going to resign.”


Mangum said that he and Mellott did brisk business at the fairs during the two previous summers. They outsold the competition, he said, because of the high quality of the burgers, fries and ice cream that they peddled from their trailer. But their success was perceived as a threat, he explained, and the fact that they were gay raised some eyebrows. “This year, when we went to get our vendor’s license, we were told we weren’t welcome so that other people could sell food.”

We say it's time for this sort of thing to end, and we know just the party to end it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Christine Smith for President

Christine Smith as launched her official candidate website for her run at the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination. Although still a work in progress, she already has positioned herself with Outright Libertarians on some key issues.
I support marriage between any two consenting adults. Marriage in our society and system brings with it monetary, tax, and other legal characteristics which should be available to any two individuals who commit themselves to one another. Any rights currently extended to male/female marriages, should likewise be extended to same sex marriages.

I intend to end federal discrimination against people due to their sexual orientation. This will include and end to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy which is in my opinion discriminatory in itself. I will oppose and work to end all federal discrimination due to sexual orientation in regards to employment including military service.
Let's keep an eye on this campaign as it develops.

Friday, September 08, 2006

More Shoe Aftertaste For Howard Dean

Howard Dean has to be accustomed to the flavor of shoe by now. The gaffe-prone head of the Democratic National Committee has severely damaged his credibility with the gay community over the past ten months by closing that party's gay outreach office (but not its gay fundraising office), firing the head of gay outreach because of criticisms his partner made to a small circle of gay activists, and most recently, appearing on right-wing anti-gay preacher Pat Robertson's 700 Club show to proclaim the Democratic Party platform's (non-existent) plank defining marriage as "between a man and a woman."

You'd think he'd quit while he's behind. But that's not the style of the Howard Dean who provides us with such entertainment value!
more . . .

Washington Blade editor and columnist Chris Crain reports on Dean's latest gaffe:

In an interview last week with Karen Ocamb of IN Los Angeles magazine, Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean scoffed when she referred to the Washington Blade as the "gay newspaper of record." He responded by the dismissing the Blade as "the New York Post of the gay and lesbian press corps."

"They're not credible and they have somebody there who has an agenda which is clearly not favorable to the Democratic Party so we simply don't give them any credence," he said.

The Blade has long been the most credible professional newspaper in the gay media -- one gay columnist friend of mine in Boston refers to it as "the gay New York Times." Dean, if he was serious about outreach to gay people, probably wouldn't be slamming the best-respected gay newspaper, but rather trying to sell it on his point of view.

However, we learn that his main beef isn't with a particular mistake they've made in coverage -- it's that the Blade hasn't provided Dean with fawning coverage that is "favorable to the Democratic Party." His response? Rather than engage with the gay community's most important newspaper, he's simply going to ignore it (like he ignores the facts) because it doesn't parrot his press releases and engages a few writers who aren't Democrats, including notorious GOP partisan James Guckert (aka "Jeff Gannon"). So much for Dean's commitment to "diversity in perspectives." Gay people, apparently, are supposed to be impressed by his media blackout.

As Crain notes:

This is, mind you, the same Howard Dean who lent credence to Pat Robertson's chops as a journalist by appearing on his "700 Club." Reverend Robertson doesn't have an anti-Democrat "agenda," does he Governor Dean?

Indeed. Howard Dean thinks so highly of Pat Robertson that he appears on his program -- he thinks so little of gay and lesbian people that he not only blasts gay marriage on Robertson's show on behalf of his party, but gives our most important newspaper of record "no credence." He respects the authority of the religious right, but not the intelligence of you and me.

One has to wonder what about the flavor of his foot Dean finds most appealing.

On a policy basis, one has to wonder how much longer Democrats can continue their "pro-gay" facade before the whole ediface finally crumbles away to reveal the lack of substance beneath it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Doug Stanhope for President

Stanhope appears to be aiming at a different demographic than most of our candidates for the LP 2008 Presidential nomination. Here's a link to his current website. On the matter of marriage, he pretty much follows the standard Libertarian line . . .  get the government out of it altogether. He has his own unique way of getting the message out—be forewarned—if you are a little bit tightly laced, you may find Stanhope's approach over the top.

George Phillies for President

It appears that there will be a bumper crop of Presidential hopefuls from the Libertarian Party this year. This short comment focuses on George Phillies, who announced early and has a respectable campaign web site already up and running. Outright Libertarians are glad to see that he has posted the following statement on his issues page:
The Federal government has no business regulating marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act and other similar Federal Laws and executive orders should be repealed. On the same line, there is no legitimate military interest in the sexual inclinations of soldiers, sailors, or airmen, and military regulations on this topic should be repealed.
While we know from past experience that Mr. Phillies thoroughly believes in these principles, we hope it won't be too immodest if Outright Libertarians take some credit for persuading his campaign to post this statement so conspicuously on his web site.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Unmasking "Pro-Gay McCain"

As he prepares to ramp up his almost-certain campaign to seek the Republican nomination, John McCain's political PR reps have been scrambling to portray him as a kinder, gentler, more tolerant -- even gay-positive -- conservative.

However, a quick glance at McCain's record in the upcoming Arizona ballot initiative on gay marriage provides another view.
more . . .

Arizona Together and five straight couples, most of them elderly, had sued to keep the measure off the ballot. A key talking point of the gay-friendly group is that the amendment aims to forbid any domestic partnership or granting of marriage-like rights. Several localities, including Phoenix, Tucson, Tempe, and Pima County, grant domestic-partner benefits; some offer domestic partnerships popular among older people seeking to keep health benefits that would be jeopardized by remarriage.

Meanwhile, a poll of Arizona registered voters released Tuesday by KAET/Channel 8 in Tempe indicated that the ban would fail. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said they opposed the constitutional marriage ban, while 38% supported it.

This is a typical over-the-top anti-gay ballot measure from the far right, which seeks to so thoroughly disenfranchise gay folks from the legal system that it doesn't care if other groups are caught in the crossfire. No wonder most Arizonans are opposed to it.

I mean, who could be in favor of such a bill?

Unsurprisingly, Catholic bishops. Oh, and John McCain.

The measure has been endorsed by all three of the state's Catholic bishops as well as U.S. senator John McCain of Arizona, who defended his stance in August 2005 by saying that the measure "would allow the people of Arizona to decide on the definition of marriage."

So much for his moderate "positioning exercise." This law is recognized, even by many who favor a gay marriage ban, as an exercise in extremism.

If this trend continues through to 2008, we could very well be looking at an anti-gay Republican candidate running against a Democratic candidate like Hillary Clinton (who supports the federal DOMA which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions alike).

If or when that happens, gay people and our allies would be well-advised to consider backing the Libertarian candidate for president, who almost certainly can be counted on to stand up for the Constitutional rights of all gay people.