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.