Monday, October 29, 2007

Thirty Pieces of Silver

“You’ve sold your soul.” That’s exactly what was said to me a few days ago. I was talking to a paid lobbyist from one of the nation’s largest GLBT organizations. A friend of mine met him the night before and thought I might be interested in talking to him.

I recently started a website: – with the help of another friend – devoted to repealing Don’t ask, Don’t tell. I’ve been promoting the site through various email lists and discussion boards. I went to the Conservative Leadership Conference in Reno, Nevada. I’ll be hosting a booth during the Greater Dallas Veterans Day Parade this year. I’ll also be going to the annual Black Tie Dinner in Dallas in November.

This lobbyist asked me if I was partisan on my website. I stated that I am Libertarian, and while libertarian ideas of individual freedom were a key element to my message, I was not explicitly favoring or endorsing the Libertarian Party through the website. Any and all were welcome to visit and learn.
more . . .

This is when I was informed I had sold my soul. Funny, in a capitalist society, both parties should agree to the transaction, but I don’t remember agreeing to anything of the sort. I guess he thought he would help by reminding me? As the conversation continued he mentioned money numerous times. I advised him that all of the money for my site and for promoting it came from my own pocket. He also discussed the benefits of working with a large organization – like his – as opposed to small-time political entrepreneurs – like me. Whose soul is lost? And despite his organization’s obvious infatuation with the Democratic Party, he cautioned me to always be bi-partisan and walk down the middle of the road. It seems to me you’re more likely to be hit by a car if you walk down the middle.

I’ve been working on Don’t ask, Don’t tell ever since I was discharged from the Army in 2003. A lot of you might consider me a single-issue activist, and maybe I am. I’ve also been cautioned not to allow other issues – such as gay marriage – to distract my battle against Don’t ask, Don’t tell. And I don’t. What is hurting our work, however, is a failure to put Don’t ask, Don’t tell in context.

At, I have established three core values: Freedom, Integrity and Responsibility. Together with the skill of leadership, these form the context in which I fight Don’t ask, Don’t tell. Every capable and competent individual should be able to serve in Freedom without having to compromise their Integrity. Every Freedom-loving American has the Responsibility to defend the Freedoms we enjoy. (Not necessarily in the military, for those who choose not to wear a uniform.) And when it comes to ensuring that all gay, lesbian and bisexual servicemembers are treated with the respect they deserve, Leadership is the key. These are values all Americans can appreciate, no matter what their sexual orientation.
This lobbyist talked more about money and the power it gives. He talked about discrimination and equal rights. He adopted his organization’s message as his own and everything he said parroted the organization. I gave up the discussion because it was pointless. At that moment he was not going to understand what I was trying to say. Maybe he sincerely believes everything the organization says, but based on our conversation, I doubt it. He seems to have resigned himself to play ball according to the rules of this one organization and to help them monopolize grassroots activism in the gay community. Their devotion to one party makes it difficult for me and others to work with this organization.

This Washington insider talked with a serpent’s tongue and tried to tempt me with sour, rotten fruit. Fortunately my grandmother took me to Sunday School every week, so I knew better than to bite. He never mentioned Freedom or Responsibility or even Integrity, values important to me. Money is much less important or why would I spend so much on activism which provides no financial return? But that’s what was clearly important to him. If he doesn’t value the things I do, I will look someplace else. But I’ve already find people whose beliefs are similar to my own, libertarians.

No matter how you read the Bible – as fact or fiction, I am not Judas Iscariot. I didn’t sell my soul for thirty pieces of silver. I didn’t take the easy road by selling out to a large organization only to be lost among thousands. I’m certainly not John the Baptist, even if I’m a voice crying out in the wilderness of the World Wide Web. And I’m not Jesus Christ either. But I’d much rather sacrifice myself as He did: one man giving his all for what he believes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Aravosis Still Has It Wrong

He posts a snarkily-titled scan of the latest Advocate editorial, apparently stating that since the editor is supportive of a transgender-excluding ENDA law -- and a female -- that all the criticism of Aravosis's position from the trans community is nullified.

Unfortunately for Mr. Aravosis, it's not nullified.

ENDA is, as we've noted here earlier, a special-rights law that doesn't have much support or importance to everyday gay people.

Everyday gay people get excited and passionate about marriage, about military service equality, about adoption equality and equality in immigration treatment.

Everyday gay people, for the most part, couldn't care less about ENDA (if they even know what it entails).

ENDA serves two purposes -- its classic function as a wedge issue for Democrats to leverage to avoid acting on real issues of equality such as marriage and military service, where their records are abysmal; and a new function as a billy club to bash transgender people with absurd "those freaks are holding us back" rhetoric.

When debates about real equality pop up, the Libertarian Party is in there fighting for equality in military service, as well as equality in marriage, when the other two national parties are nowhere to be found (along with Aravosis, Log Cabin, and various other old-party-affiliated gay groups).

And when debates about excluding members of the queer community from government recognition pop up, they're always started by old party apologists, be they George W. Bush and his Federal Marriage (Bigotry) Amendment, or John Aravosis's and Barney Frank's "Transgender People Are Freaks Dragging Us Down" ENDA bill.

There's just no getting around those simple facts. Voters seeking a queer-friendly party that's interested in defending all of our rights, at the expense of none, should take careful note of them.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Republicans, make up your minds.

Mitt Romney, as a Republican governor in 2004, said it's the job of the legislature, not the courts, to decide marriage equality. He repeated that claim this year when a judge in Iowa struck down that state's ban on same-sex marriage.

Conversely, Arnold Schwarzenegger, also a Republican governor, has said in both 2005 and 2007 that it's the job of the courts, not the legislature, to decide marriage equality.

They can't both be right.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Barney Frank Thinks You're A "Single-Issue Faction"

Barney Frank has called a press conference to defend his "dump the transgender people" stance. From his press release:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) will hold a press conference
tomorrow, Thursday, October 11, at 11:30 a.m. The subject will be the
obligation of the Democratic Party to govern responsibly when confronted
by a demand to react emotionally by a deeply committed, single-issue
faction insisting on putting ideological purity over achievable
advancement of our values.

The specific example discussed will be the current demand that the
Democratic leadership kill the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA),
which has been the prime legislative goal for gay and lesbian people for
over 30 years, because we do not have the votes to include people who are

Fact: The reason the ENDA (which is a prime Democratic Party priority, not "the prime legislative goal for gay and lesbian people") doesn't have votes to include transgender people is because Democrats don't like transgender people and the Democratic majority will not support their inclusion.

Fact #2: Everyday LGBTQ people consistently rank marriage equality and equal military service as more important than ENDA. When Frank claims otherwise, he is lying.

Fact #3: "Governing responsibly" starts with telling the truth.

Fact #4: Barney Frank is one of the principal architects of the anti-gay military ban -- another "responsible Democratic initiative." A Libertarian Congress would have blocked the ban.

Fact #5: Barney Frank's Democratic Party still won't let the Military Readiness Enhancement Act onto the floor. A Libertarian Congress would allow it to go to vote and would pass it.

Fact #6: Barney Frank called many of the plaintiffs in the Goodridge case that delivered marriage equality in Massachusetts, begging them to call it off because it would "hurt the cause of equality." The Libertarian Party supports marriage equality without apology.

Fact #7: Barney Frank's Democratic Party won't let the Uniting American Families Act get a floor vote. A Libertarian Congress would allow a floor vote -- and would pass UAFA.

Fact #8: Barney Frank's Democratic Party won't allow a bill amending or revoking DOMA to get a floor vote. A Libertarian Congress would repeal DOMA.

Fact #9: Barney Frank's "responsibly governing Democratic Party" thinks that if you want equality, rather than symbolic and useless ENDA special-rights legislation, you're a "single-issue purist."

Fact #10: LGBTQ people who accept such lines of reasoning from such contemptible hypocrites might as well don a shirt every morning that says "Please kick me, I deserve it!"

Fact #11: Transphobia is not "responsible," and inclusiveness for transgender people is not "deeply committed, single-issue ideological purity." Anyone who claims it is would be, in the words of one of my favorite bloggers, a "moral defective."

Fact #12: Barney Frank doesn't speak for most gay people -- and he never did.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Throwing Transpeople Under the Bus

It was a beautiful, sunny day early this year when I opened up my e-mail after an editorial I wrote explaining why Outright Libertarians was opposed to ENDA. In short, we oppose it because we support equal rights – marriage, adoption, military service, etc. – rather than the special rights only for (back then) LGBT people that ENDA entailed.

Our argument was (and is) both practical and principled. On the practical side, we believe that our community’s resources are better spent pursuing equal rights in areas where government discriminates against us. Given that the vast majority of ENDA advocates live in areas where “nondiscrimination” legislation already exists, it’s a moot point anyway, even if you accept the specious argument that government can outlaw homophobia.

And on the principled side, as libertarians, we don’t support the creation of special classes of people – even when the membership of Outright would largely be members of that special class.

That didn’t stop the hate mail. My inbox filled up with e-mails from Democrats (and a few Republicans) accusing me of “hating gay people” and being “self-loathing.”

Fast forward to today.

Now, in a typical Democratic Party snowjob, the “T” has been dropped from the ENDA bill courtesy of Barney Frank – and it now is only for LGB people. Of course, the people slamming me (and Outright) would object strenuously to applying their own logic to them, accusing them of hating trans folk and being “trans loathing” – after all, that would require consistency from the same group of people who talk ceaselessly about “equality” yet swoon over the homophobic platforms of Clinton and Obama while attacking Libertarian candidates who are far more inclusive (and supportive of marriage, adoption and military service equality).

A Hostile Climate, A Laughable Apologia

What makes the anti-trans movement in the so-called queer commentariat even more astonishing is the utter lack of diversity that it represents. Rhetoric from connected, well-to-do (and wealthy) white guys represents the near totality of the argument in question.

Consider John Aravosis, a Washington Democratic Party partisan who made a name for himself by attempting to get right-wing radio host Laura Schlesinger’s program thrown off the air when she said some mean things he didn’t like. This well-to-do former attorney (and Democratic commentator) wrote a tortured blog-post “explaining” how he had such great sympathy for the transgender community but how it’s not really part of the “gay rights” movement.

He states that the “transgender revolution” is a “revolution from the outside” that has been “forced” on gay people. As a result, while he has “sympathy” for inclusion for transgender people in our society, they’re just going to have to fight their own battles, because even though the LGBTQ lobby accepted their cash for years, they’ve just become. . . you know. . . inconvenient. Under the bus with you, boys and girls!

(I wonder if “” is still available?)

Chris Crain, the wealthy and jet-setting former publisher of the Washington Blade, weighed in with a piece stating that ENDA was “transjacked” – a pleasant term that I’m sure he wouldn’t mind seeing modified. Perhaps Republican leaders (or, as the wind blows, Democratic leaders) would be happy to complain that gay people are “gayjacking” marriage in Massachusetts, or “queerjacking” immigration law so that his Brazilian boyfriend could join him stateside?

He complains that efforts to include transfolk in the ENDA morass would “kill momentum” for the bill, and thus, well, it’s that darn liberal guilt harming the greater movement again.

And on and on it goes. Bay Windows, the reliably establishment queer paper in Boston, has articles from queer white guys (and the token lesbian) praising Frank’s betrayal of the trans community, from people who can get married, adopt, and have a state equivalent of ENDA already. Of course, if ENDA “had to” exclude lesbians, you’d have quite a different story.

So what exactly is going on?

Bolstering the Democratic Party, Targeting Transgender Americans

Gay people often cock their heads and look at me strangely when I mention that the primary agenda of much of the gay “leadership” is not actual equality, but bolstering the Democratic Party. However, a detailed look at the situation reveals a consistent pattern of duplicity. This latest embarrassing saga is a prime example.

The vast majority of gay people in this country are already “covered” by ENDA-style special rights laws that guarantee employment for gay people at a state or local level. Certainly, every single one of the gay leadership who have chimed in to date are covered by such laws already. And looking consistently at polls of the LGBTQ community, ENDA-style protections are ranked as far less important than marriage equality, equal adoption, and only just above equality in immigration rights for same-sex foreign partners.

In short, very few everyday gay people who aren’t regulars on the HRC black-tie dinner party circuit, or professional panderers to powerful Washingtonians, care about it.

So why the attention on ENDA from “gay leaders?”

Because the Democrats need a law that is largely symbolic, and devoid of substance, so that disgusted gay voters across the country – most of whom are not millionaires with jet-set Brazilian boyfriends, married prosperous lesbians in pricey Boston, or connected members of the Washington establishment – don’t bail on them and either stay at home or vote for Libertarians and Greens (both parties that had impressive vote totals – and cost Republicans lots of seats – in the 2006 elections).

And transgender people, being the smallest group in the LGBT community, represent a vocal impediment to this process. After all, Democratic legislators are opposed to transgender inclusion in their special-rights bill, and rather than suffer the embarrassment of having their anti-trans orientation pointed out, they’d rather drop trans folk from their bill in their desperate effort to get it out the door prior to the elections. Since Democrats have also never been that great at dealing with people who are “different” – mouthing platitudes about “diversity” rather than practicing them – transgender people represent an uncomfortable reality they’d rather not deal with.

To create the artificial consensus necessary around this bill, they need to launch a full-court press, and that means if pesky transgender people, grassroots LGBTQ activists (or even Libertarians!) get in their way, they’re to be dealt with promptly through an abusive stream of hyperbole.

Effectively, the LGB “leadership” and press corps have decided to do to trans folks what they helped Bill Clinton do to LGBT folks back in the 1990s – take their money, take their support, and then promptly stab them in the back.

And if a little transphobia helps them get their meaningless (and low-priority) ENDA bill through to “prove the Democrats really DO love us,” so much the better for them. They keep getting invited to Democratic Party black-tie dinners, and get to hob-nob with (and be photographed with) Hillary, Pelosi and the rest. They remain part of the “elite,” while trans folks get brushed off like a bit of lint on their Armani jackets.

Best of all, it’s a no-lose proposition for the Democrats.

If ENDA fails because Bush vetoes it, Dems can run as the brave warriors fighting for queer folk against the Republicans. If it fails because of a lack of LGBTQ support, they can claim that gay people “aren’t serious about their rights” – despite the fact that ENDA isn’t about our equality, but rather Democratic Party priorities. If it fails because of transgender opposition, the white rich bois who don’t like transfolk can claim that they’re “harming the movement.” And if, by some miracle, it passes, Democrats can claim they “fought for an important victory” – even though the “victory” is meaningless for everyday gay life.

So Where Do Grassroots Queer Folk Go From Here?

Sounds like a pretty disheartening situation, right? Transphobia running rampant, ENDA being pushed as some Barney Frankenstein monster to preserve queer votes for a Democratic Party that hasn’t earned them, and a lack of real dialogue with the everyday gay community (which doesn’t really care that much about ENDA anyway).

But it’s not really so bad as it looks.

Consider, for instance, the grassroots efforts that have won us the equality under the law that our community really values.

Marriage equality started as lawsuits in Vermont and Massachusetts – leading eventually to civil unions and then marriage equality in Massachusetts. All throughout that process, individual grass-roots activists who cared more about their own equality than a Democratic Party central committee agenda, took the matter into their own hands (and to court). No less an “authority” than Barney Frank himself called them, desperate, demanding that they drop their case and explaining how they’re asking for too much -- that their efforts would hurt the Democratic Party (and ENDA!). But they soldiered on, with the support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and yes, transgender people, to a stunning victory.

If they’d taken Frank’s “advice,” marriage equality would still be a distant goal – not something many people enjoy today, and an achievable thing in many parts of the country. When push came to shove, Frank and his supporters valued their own political power over what the average gay person actually wanted and needed – and laughably described their concern for their own family’s well-being as “selfish and misguided.”

This has continued within the marriage struggle today. California is just a governor’s signature away from full marriage equality, thanks to a broad transpartisan (and transgender inclusive) coalition of grassroots activists who brought the issue to light with state legislators. The commentariat who are busy slamming transfolk today were nowhere to be found in the California struggle – and neither were most of the “national leaders” who are today busy pushing ENDA. This is a struggle that once again, grassroots activism delivered.

In fact, most of the real advances being made by queer folks in the past 15 years have been the result not of Democratic Party politicians (and their apologists), but by grassroots action. And the good news here is that regardless of what happens with the ENDA fiasco (and its firestorm of transphobia), we can look forward to continued progress if we work together on the grassroots level and ignore the self-appointed commentators’ pronouncements on who is “in or out” of our community.

Transgender people are a crucial part of the LGBTQ community. They have fought many brave battles in their everyday lives in the service of living and loving openly. They deserve nothing more, nor less, than full equality under the law – as do all queer Americans. The grassroots knows this and accepts it. The Democratic Party and its associated apologists know it, and fear it. If we stick together, ignore the manufactured ENDA “controversy,” and push for equality under the law rather than Washington-crafted special rights legislation, we’ll all win.

I invite transgender people feeling burnt by this controversy to commit to joining Outright in the grassroots. And I invite the rest of the LGBTQ community (and its allies) to recommit ourselves to real equality under the law, without regard to the fortunes of a corrupt and mendacious Democratic Party (and its privileged white urban apologists).

If you want to get started, why not head to Outright’s web site ( and sign our petitions demanding equal marriage, equal adoption, equal immigration rights, and equal treatment in criminal law. Then, consider working locally with LGBTQ people who share your passion for real-life issues like marriage, adoption, and immigration – not Washington policy-wonk politics. Learn more about candidates for office (including Libertarians) who share your concerns on these issues – and will actually do something about them.

We still have time to make lemonade out of this latest basket of pungent Democratic lemons.

And shame on the queer commentators who are leveraging transphobic bias to appease their political masters. You don’t speak for us – and never did.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why we oppose ENDA

Equality is a buzzword in LGBT circles nowadays. At Outright, we support equality under the law, which is why we are vocal proponents of equal marriage, adoption, and military service. All three of these are institutions that straight people enjoy, but LGBT people are excluded from by government.

Though when it comes to ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act), the rallying cry logically cannot be equality, since gay people have equal rights to fire straight people, just as straight people can fire gay people. So, instead of equality, the best possible argument for ENDA is fairness.

Unfortunately, no matter how good the intentions, government attempts at subverting the free market in the pursuit of fairness always result in dismal failure. This is something that Libertarians have known for a long time (and something Republicans used to know several decades ago). What we understand is that life is fundamentally not fair, but that the free market gets us a whole lot closer to fairness than any government construct ever could. For this reason, we oppose government interference in private affairs, even when the intended outcome is something as high-minded and laudable as fairness. The best we can hope for from government is that government itself not discriminate. It is inherently incapable of doing any better than that.

So, once again, we're back to the goal of ending discrimination by government. At best, ENDA is a distraction from this goal, providing political cover for politicians who oppose true equal rights for LGBT people in marriage, adoption, and military service. And, at worst, ENDA is itself an attack on equal treatment under the law, since no matter how such laws are written, the courts always interpret them as only favoring minority groups, and never majority groups.

Our community is so very close to true equal rights under the law. We can't afford to be distracted by special rights laws like ENDA and MSA (the "hate crimes" law), which actually subvert the goal of equal rights under the law. That's why we oppose ENDA, and why you should, too.

Libertarian Party of California Calls For Governor To Change Position On Marriage Bill

A simple, strong, clear letter to the governor from our party's state chair on AB43, the marriage equality bill:


Dear Governor,

Gay men and lesbians are being discriminated against in California, and you can do something about it.

No, I am not talking about discrimination in employment, or housing, in the private sector. This injustice is much more pervasive and damaging than that. I am talking about the second largest perpetrator of discrimination against gay people in the nation - a virtually inescapable discrimination, where moving to another neighborhood or changing jobs does nothing to cure it. I am talking about
institutionalized discrimination on a truly grand scale.

I am talking about discrimination against gay people by the State Government of California, whereby the state refuses to legally recognize the marriages of men and women to members of the same sex. This, in spite of the equal protection clauses in the state and federal constitutions.

With a stroke of your pen, you can end this particular injustice in California. The legislature, as representatives of the people of California, has seen fit to send you Assembly Bill 43, which would put marriage between two gay men or two lesbians on an equal legal footing with that of a heterosexual couple. Outside of a similar measure at the federal level, there is nothing greater that could be done to
eliminate discrimination against gay people in California.

Yet, most appropriately, it would not interfere with the rights of people in those religious organizations authorized by the state to perform legal marriages. AB 43 exempts them from having to perform marriages between members of the same sex; marriages that may be in contradiction to their religious beliefs.

On September 15th, in a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of California, with all members present and accounted for, the Libertarian Party of California unanimously passed a resolution authorizing me to write you an open letter urging you to sign AB 43 into law.

The Libertarian Party would like to see all people treated equally before the law; gay or straight, male or female, white or black, able-bodied or disabled, married or single. We would like to see government less involved in the institution of marriage, which we see as a civil matter; something that isn't even within the proper role of government to interfere with or regulate. AB 43 is a significant move towards individual freedom by eliminating legalized discrimination by the State of California against gay couples. The Libertarian Party of California, and I personally, urge you to sign this historic bill into law.

Kevin Takenaga
Chairman, Libertarian Party of California

Thanks to the Libertarian Party of California for its continued lobbying for gay equality under the law in California.

You can take steps to make marriage equality a reality here, by lobbying the governor, volunteering in marriage equality initiatives, and supporting groups like the LP of California that are taking an unapologetic stand for equality under the law.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Governor George Wallace Schwarzenegger

California's governor has spoken on marriage equality.

"They can send this bill down as many times as they want, I won't do it."

Governor Arnold is clearly inspired by another governor who, like him, pandered to bigotry. . .

Segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever!

Both cited "the majority," both had no moral scruples, and I daresay both will go down in history in an unflattering light.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Something no Republican (not even you-know-who) is willing to say

George Phillies, one of the candidates for the Libertarian Party's nomination for President, today published this press release supporting marriage equality:

Gay Marriage: Marriage is a Basic Civil Right
Gay Marriage - The debate over gay marriage is a wonderful example of what's wrong with Washington. Down the street where I live are two churches. One church views gay marriage with horror. The other has been happily marrying gays for years. The Libertarian position is simple: Gay marriage is purely a personal and religious question, not a question for government to decide. The George Bush Republican party disagrees: They've made it Uncle Sam's business by passing the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The Defense of Marriage Act is deeply flawed. In 1967, the landmark Supreme Court case, Loving v Virginia found that the right to marry is a "basic civil [right] of man.” Loving v Virginia ended legal discrimination in marriage. DOMA tries to bring legal discrimination back into marriage.

DOMA also says that states are not required to recognize same-sex marriages created in other states. However, marriages are contracts: The interstate validity of contracts is guaranteed by the Constitution's Full Faith and Credit clause. No wonder the Bush Republican Party now wants a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

When I am elected, I will ask Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. I will protect the right of States to license same-sex unions or not, as they will. But I will also hold states to the United States Constitution and require them to recognize legal unions created in other states, just as they have always done in the past.States should concern themselves with civil agreements on property, medical care, and protection of children, and not interfere with the personal relationship of those involved. I will encourage Congress to make that the law in the District of Columbia: Government should recognize civil law aspects of domestic partnerships. Government should leave marriage to private individuals and their clergy.

Domestic partnerships range from a a newly-wed couple having children to elderly companions who want rock solid assurance that, if they are disabled, their medical care decisions will be made by someone they trust. If people want to marry and have a ceremony, that is a private matter between them, their friends, and their faith.

Uncle Sam has no business in your bedrooms, your religious ceremonies, or your private life. It is none of the government's business which consenting adults marry each other, and which do not. Do you want your religion's marriage practices protected from government interference? Only the Libertarian Party will protect the privacy of your bedroom and your conscience.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Marriage Equality -- Coming To Iowa?

Good news from Des Moines:

A Polk County judge on Thursday struck down Iowa's law banning gay marriage.

The ruling by Judge Robert Hanson concluded that the state's prohibition on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and he ordered the Polk County recorder to issue marriage licenses to six gay couples.

Now, this is just the beginning, it's likely the case will go all the way to the Iowa Supreme Court -- and it's possible equal treatment could lose there.

However, this experience is instructive for two reasons:

1) The *only* progress being made for equality is being made in court. Democrats, despite their constant broken promises, have delivered literally nothing in the 15 years since they decided to court gay people in their propaganda. Once again, they are completely MIA on the most important issues for gay people.

2) Iowa is not Massachusetts, New Jersey, California or other "coastal" states that are considered at the forefront of the marriage equality movement in this country. The simple fact that a judge in a "heartland" state would make such a ruling underscores the sheer scale of the moral victory that LGBTQ people are enjoying in broader society.

The Register notes that:

Polk County is expected to appeal the ruling to the Iowa S upreme Court.

County Attorney John Sarcone said the county would immediately seek a stay from Hanson, which if granted would prevent anyone from seeking a marriage license until an appeal could be heard.


Sarcone, the Polk County attorney, said the arguments in the case were similar to those made in litigation around the country.

"I know Judge Hanson took a lot of time with it," Sarcone said. "He made his decision and we respectfully disagree."

There's no respect in your "disagreement," Mr. Sarcone.

This comes as no surprise to Libertarians, but guess which party Mr. Sarcone is a member of, and was representing in the last election within which he was re-elected as Polk County attorney?

And people ask why we're Libertarians!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The more things change. . .

As the Democrats and Republicans charge forward with their same old politics bereft of meaning, let's pause to commemorate a great moment in campaign history.

A couple of election cycles ago, a popular politician ran this advertisement on Christian radio stations. I've redacted the actual candidate's name. See if you can guess the candidate and party of this anti-gay, conservative "family values" candidate:

Protecting religious freedom. It's the foundation of our nation.

When the Justice Department went after a church to gather the parishioners'tithing money, the government was stopped cold because Our Candidate overturned the government's policy and protected us. It's not the only time he's defended our values. Don't be misled by The Other Guy's attack ads.

Our Candidate wants a complete ban on late term abortions except when the mother's life is in danger or faces severe health risks, such as the inability to have another child.

Our Candidate supports the Defense of Marriage Act, supports curfews and school uniforms to teach our children discipline.

Our Candidate enacted the V-chip to block out violent TV programs. His crime bill expanded the death penalty for drug kingpins. The Other Guy opposed him and is resorting to untrue negative attacks. Our Candidate has fought for our values and America is better for it.

Wow. Moral values legislation? Curfews? DOMA? Mandatory school uniforms? Abortion bans? Television censorship? "Defending our values?"

Must be a Republican! Newt Gingrich? Pat Buchanan? Dick Armey? Perhaps B-1 Bob Dornan?

The answer is here, and may surprise you (if you're not a Libertarian).

As Democrats and Republicans get caught lying, cheating with interns, having toilet-stall sex, and various other unsavory interruptions to their crusades for "moral values," perhaps we should step back and ask why we're allowing the Our Candidates of the world -- Larry Craig or otherwise -- to "defend our morality."

After all, the average person is both more moral -- and more honest -- than these guys. We don't need nor want their "guidance."

And that's something only the Libertarian candidate for president will say.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Trading marriage for $300,000

Equality California put out this press release about the recent inclusion of the first-ever LGBT-specific funding in the state budget.

“LGBT-specific domestic violence programs provide a critical service to the community and Equality California will continue to advocate and secure state budget funding for other types of services in the years ahead. We are truly appreciative of Gov. Schwarzenegger and the Legislature for including this critical funding for LGBT Californians.”

In other words, despite your vetoing a bill recognizing our right to marry, we'll accept three hundred grand in lieu of equality. Thanks, Governor.

Another way to look at this is that LGBT Californians have gotten along just fine for generations without a single penny from the state budget. It makes you wonder how we survived all these years without the money for this "critical service."

Of course, the answer is that this money is not by any stretch of the imagination "critical," but rather just the first step for the LGBT community in the realm of pork barrel politics.

Also, consider the irony that this money isn't even being used to combat the last vestiges of homophobic violence. Instead, it's to deal with domestic violence -- that is, us LGBT folks assaulting and killing ourselves. Couldn't we just stop doing that to ourselves, and give the taxpayers back that money?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy 30th Anniversary

On this day in 1977, the Libertarian Party issued a Resolution on Anita Bryant:

WHEREAS the Libertarian party condemns the use of government power to promote racial, religious and other forms of discrimination, including those directed against homosexuals and women, and

WHEREAS the Libertarian party deplores the calculated incitement to hatred against homosexuals which is likely to lead to the use of government power and private violence against them, and

WHEREAS the Libertarian party recognizes the rights of anti-Gays, as well as Gays, to peruse their own peaceful lifestyles,

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Libertarian Party condemns the efforts of Ms. Anita Bryant and her associates and followers to create a climate of hatred against homosexuals, to continue the present systematic state oppression of Gays, and to extend it, for instance by banning homosexual men and women from teaching in public schools. While we did not, an do not now, support the principle of the Dade County anti-discrimination ordinance -- clearly a violation of property rights and freedom of association -- we unequivocally denounce the whipping up of anti-homosexual hysteria which is likely to lead to the infringement of individual rights of homosexuals. We demand that homosexuals be accorded those rights in full and immediately.

California to suffocate its gay couples in tax paperwork and red tape

California has had domestic partnerships for quite some time now.

Unfortunately, Rex Wockner reports that state's bureaucrats were snoozing on the job the entire time, and as a result, have just realized that due to the nature of California's income tax system, California gay couples might have to file THREE state tax returns (two California and one fake federal "pro forma" return) in a year instead of just one return sent to the state. That's in addition to federal tax forms.

In short, average LGBTQ California families will have to file five tax returns with the state and federal governments, while heterosexual California families will only have to file two.

One fix under consideration is for registered California couples to do their federal income taxes three times -- their two real returns, and then a third, fake return, as a married couple. They could then use a number from the fake return to begin their joint state return.

Barrett noted that the Franchise Tax Board prefers to call the proposed fake federal return a "pro forma return."

There's a great rush by state bureaucrats to ensure that "tax software professionals," "the tax preparation community" and the endless legions of other wealth-consuming red-tape-splicers that California's convoluted tax system has created can deal with all the new bureaucratic adaptive policies and temporary directives that this problem causes.

The specific cause?

Since the federal government doesn't recognize gay couples in any way -- be they married or domestically partnered -- such couples have to file their federal taxes singly, as unmarried.

Then turn around and file in California as married.

But how does one do that, given that the first number you put on your state income tax form is a dollar amount from your federal return?

So much for the faux-libertarian frauds who insist that DOMA is "about states' rights and doesn't impact the rights of gays on a state level in any way."

Still think that DOMA advocates aren't advocating separate and unequal treatment for gay couples? Read on:

A third option -- which will be mandatory if no California laws are changed before Jan. 1 -- is to add the adjusted gross incomes from the separate federal returns and just use that number to begin filling out the California married return.

But the FTB is leaning against this option because some registered partners would unfairly pay more taxes this way than they would under other approaches.

Oh, well that's a relief. They're "leaning away" from the presently mandatory requirement for filing -- which costs gay people more than straight people.

In the article, California's Franchise Tax Board representatives groan that there's no ideal solution, while making it very clear that it's going to be a very rough tax year for California's LGBTQ families.

But they are wrong.

How about marriage equality instead -- so that gay people don't get tied up in layers of red tape and have bureaucrats' incompetence put their assets at risk? The level of complexity, bureaucratic nightmares, snarls, regulatory juggling and other gobbledygook going on with this, that simple change would save LGBTQ families in California lots of money and frustration -- and would reduce the workload of the state's bureaucrats.

Even better, how about getting rid of the state income tax altogether, so that this isn't an issue?

They'll get right on those suggestions, I'm sure. After all, they're clearly aware that government works for the people, people don't work for the government.


(Your friendly blogger isn't holding his breath).

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pinkwashing Democrats -- 'Tis The Season

The Democratic Party's faithful apologists at NGLTF have long pushed a Democratic Party agenda over the interests of LGBTQ people, and we've written about that here extensively. However, NGLTF head honcho Matt Foreman penned this editorial, another pleading blog post begging Democrats to, well, stop being Democrats and actually stand for something.

The best? Let's start with the title.

Democrats 2008: Déjà vu, all over again?

Do we really have to answer that question, as though it wasn't obvious?


OK, let's push on through NGLTF's spin.

The first chunk of spin-worthy goodness:

The Democratic candidates for president, as a group and individually, express more support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues and legislative and policy initiatives to improve our lives than any prior set of presidential candidates in the history of American politics.

That's clearly not true. Not only are the Libertarian Party candidates for president, who are running at the same time as the Democrats, all better on gay issues than any of the Democrats, but when Bill Clinton was signing the Defense of Marriage Act waaaaay back in 1996, Harry Browne was calling for marriage equality.

The striking thing about the Libertarian Party isn't how much our candidates' positions have changed, but rather, how much they've stayed the same! Libertarians have always fielded the best candidates on gay issues from a contemporary perspective, and Libertarians continue to lead the Democrats on any gay equality issue.

no major Democratic candidate has made the kind of sweeping statement of inclusion as did Gov. Bill Clinton in 1992, when he declared to a huge crowd of LGBT people in Los Angeles, “I have a vision for America and you are part of it.”

Too bad that President Clinton didn't mention that his principal vision of "our part in America" would consist of being banned from military service under the DADT policy he signed, and having our relationships legally declared null and void in a DOMA law that he signed (and campaigned on).

His words brought tears to the eyes of the audience and rang out across the United States. Even the most skeptical of us in the LGBT community knew that we heard something previously unspoken by any major political figure.

I wasn't in the audience, but if I had been, I'm sure my tears would have been of despair and frustration, perhaps wondering "how many more times are queer people going to be suckered by these Democratic politicians and their duplicitous rhetoric?"

We also know and painfully remember that Clinton’s vision of America did not translate into much of anything positive for us at the federal level.

Translation: Clinton and the Democratic Party lied to and screwed the gay community, and as a direct result of his actions, and those of his party, LGBTQ people emerged from 8 years of his administration even less free -- and more legally targeted, at a federal level -- than any time in prior history.

That's a bit more than "not translating into anything positive at a federal level."

But Foreman, as you might imagine, is oh-so-forgiving of the Democratic Party.

All of this misery has been exacerbated exponentially by the spinelessness or unwillingness of all but a few national leaders to take a stand for us and denounce the animus unleashed on us. Many of our “friends” have simply looked the other way.

I hope that Mr. Foreman is speaking for NGLTF when he says "us." While his Democratic allies were waffling, flip-flopping, or hiding when the right-wing jihad was unleashed in the 1980s and 1990s, Libertarian Party politicians, activists, and members were fighting the good fight in the trenches. Gay people who were turned away from the Democratic Party, told that they were "too much of a liability" simply because they were gay, found political homes in the Libertarian Party.

I can say that the Libertarian Party, as a base of millions of American voters, has always had my back as a gay man. I have never once seen a situation where Libertarians didn't stand, strongly, as a party and as an organization, to take on the religious right's efforts to use government power to attack LGBTQ Americans and our families.

Too bad Mr. Foreman cannot say that about his party.

we are still waiting for the country’s political leadership to defend our right to live and thrive as a matter of principle

Again, "we" being Democrats and Republicans.

Libertarians have had great names in the past (Harry Browne and Michael Badnarik), and a bevy of pro-gay candidates seeking nomination today, who have done that both in politics and in everyday life.

We deserve and we must demand from the Democratic 2008 presidential candidates the simple and straightforward statement that our humanity requires full respect and fair treatment by all

Don't hold your breath. . .

and, further, an equally simple and straightforward condemnation of those who seek to use our lives for political gain.

Come now, Matt, they're not going to condemn themselves!

We need leadership. We need strength of vision. And we need to know that the promises of reform come from the candidates' understanding of LGBT people as inseparable from the national community in which we live. There can be no more equivocating or silence about the goodness of our personhood, our families, our relationships. Period.


That's why LGBTQ people should vote Libertarian. We've got leaders with strong vision and who accept that LGBTQ people are no more, nor less, than equal. Our front-runners have a history of standing for gay people, with no compromises. They tackle anti-gay laws, anti-gay politicians, and anti-gay media personalities. They support complete equality in marriage, immigration, and parental rights -- all issues that their analogues in the Democratic Party fail miserably on, to this day.

In short, the vision that Foreman hopes the Democrats embrace in 10 or 20 years is the vision our party has had since 1973.

Postscript. . . And if that wasn't funny enough, check out this quote from the first entry in the comments section:

Yes, Mr. Foreman. I'm experiencing deja vu, too. But it's less what you wrote about than "Nader Raiders 2000." Remember them and their scorched earth, all or nothing strategy which succeeded only in raiding enough votes to throw the election in dispute and throw Bush in the White House?

I'm also experiencing extreme indigestion from your stew of indignation, exageration, contradiction, and misinformation. Your boilingrant is all the more surprising after the release of the Task Force analysis of candidates' positions showed all Democrats essentially the same except in the area of marriage. Unfortunately, your latest oratory serves only to muddy the perceptions of those who have not seen that report and, therefore, is untruthful, unnecessary, and counterproductive.

Translation? "Shut up faggots, who cares what you think or how we've ruined things for you?!?! You're going to ruin EVERYTHING!"

Why would any LGBTQ person want to be part of a party where such a philosophy is mainstream (and directing the campaigns of all of the frontrunners)? What queer folk need is a party that stands for their equal rights, every time -- not one that takes umbrage to being asked to do anything beyond the "tell me you love me" politics being exhibited by Foreman.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

US Federal Court Upholds Parents' Rights

One of the criteria that Outright uses for its candidate surveys (and evaluation of other parties' candidates) is their stance on anti-gay adoption and anti parental rights laws.

Oklahoma was one of the worst offenders. Its law invalidating same-sex parental adoptions included a provision that nullified the rights of parents who adopted in other states. In other words, if two same-gender parents who adopted in Illinois were passing through Oklahoma, their parental rights are completely nullified the moment they cross the Oklahoma state line. Parents could (and sometimes did) have their children seized from them by the state government.

Fortunately for US citizens (and unfortunately for anti-gay control freaks), the Constitution's Full Faith and Credit clause does not allow state governments to exercise this level of assault on our rights. Lambda Legal upheld that important principle with a victory in federal court -- striking down the Oklahoma law in question:

In a 35-page decision, a panel of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit rejected the Oklahoma Department of Health's challenge to a lower court decision striking down an Oklahoma law so extreme that it threatened to make children adopted by same-sex couples in other states legal orphans when the families are in Oklahoma. The ruling is important not only in Oklahoma, but also to families across the United States, including in Seattle and Houston, home to two of the families who joined in the suit.


In the opinion released today, U. S. Senior Circuit Judge David M. Ebel wrote, "final adoption orders by a state court of competent jurisdiction are judgments that must be given full faith and credit under the Constitution by every other state in the nation. Because the Oklahoma statute at issue categorically rejects a class of out-of-state adoption decrees, it violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause."

The Adoption Invalidation Law, hastily passed at the end of the 2004 Oklahoma legislative session, had said that Oklahoma "shall not recognize an adoption by more than one individual of the same sex from any other state or foreign jurisdiction."

Many powerful people in the media are arguing that Libertarians should support other parties' candidates in the upcoming elections out of a sense of "pragmatism." However, many other parties' candidates -- including the preferred Republican candidates of many "small-l" libertarians -- will be raging against this decision as a "violation of states' rights."

The Libertarian Party is the only national party whose top-tier presidential candidates all support the outcome of this ruling -- and the Constitution of the United States, including the Bill of Rights, as the supreme law of the land. No edits, no deletions, no additions.

That's why your friendly neighborhood blogger will be voting Big-L next November.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

An Important Task For Libertarians: Fighting For LGBTQ Refugees

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has issued a strongly-worded press release describing the conditions that gay and lesbian people in Iran face.

Despite a widely publicized outcry two years ago when Iranian authorities executed two young men in the northeastern city of Mashhed, the government continues to target, arrest, prosecute, and execute individuals under its sodomy law. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) condemns Iran’s violations of human rights law and asks that human rights groups around the world work to support those targeted by the government.


In May 2007, the Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO) was the first to report that the police forces in the city of Esfahan had raided a birthday party and arrested more than 80 people. The police apparently suspected that the attendees were gay and were possibly engaged in sodomy, though nor proof of either has been established. Later, police unconditionally released most of those arrested, but required substantial bail for 17 of the arrestees. A judge told the families of those set free on bail that they would be tried on sodomy charges. Based on IRQO’s reports and IGLHRC’s investigation, some of the detainees were severely tortured while in custody. In the last two years, IGLHRC has worked with IRQO to find refuge for a number of gay Iranians forced to leave their country and who have applied for refugee status, many of whom faced arbitrary arrests, police brutality and even lashings for being gay.

Outright Libertarians joins in IGLHRC's call for assistance for our LGBTQ compatriots around the globe who face torture, prison and even execution simply for being gay. IGLHRC recommends the following actions:

1- Support Iranian LGBT groups, such as Iranian Queer Organization (IRQO). IRQO is a volunteer-based group of Iranian activists who try to reach out to LGBT population in Iran through publication of monthly magazines, phone counseling, and podcasts, educating the Western media about the situation in Iran, and helping Iranian LGBT asylum seekers outside the country. Find out more about IRQO by visiting their website:

2- Ask your own government to take action in one of the following ways: a) Send a letter to your government’s foreign ministry recounting these incidents and asking them to expressly call on the Iranian government to abide by its international treaty obligations by halting the abuse and prosecution of people who are or are perceived to be LGBT. b) Ask that your government’s immigration service adopt policies to provide refuge to individuals who fear persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity. As with all refugees, housing, food, and financial resources are needed to sustain them during the often lengthy process of establishing asylum or other legal status.

We believe that US lobbying of Iran would not be effective. We also believe that a Libertarian position on immigration reform would eliminate the need for much of the housing, food and financial resources that ILGA deems necessary as a result of lengthy big-government bureaucratic processes.

Outright calls for a compassionate, apolitical asylum system that welcomes refugees who are persecuted based on their sexual orientation as full participants in American society, with the right to find employment, enter into business, and support themselves immediately after arrival -- without lengthy government-imposed delays. In short, refugees should quickly receive a green card, and all the rights and responsibilities that come with it. We also encourage all Americans to contribute their own resources, including financial donations, space, and legal aid, to individuals from Iran and similar places where being gay can result in human rights abuses.

Some have inquired as to why we are "such sticklers" on the question of immigration equality. The answer is simple: with literally thousands of people facing death, we cannot afford to "compromise" on such a key issue. The time for action is now.

We continue to affirm that all people have the right to live and love freely, as they choose, and we call upon the US government to make good on that most fundamental of a human right by ending its slam-door policy.

The steps we take as a country today will determine whether our society's 50-year-old vow of "never again" was a commitment, or just an empty slogan.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Republican Desperation Reaches Pathetic New Lows

Thanks to my favorite non-partisan blogger KipEsquire's watchful eye, we found this fantastic gem from the right-wing Blog for Bush:

For my fellow Americans who are gay - I just advise you how Bill Clinton treated your cause in 1993 after you went flat out for him in 1992. You will be betrayed again, if you are fool enough to back Democrats in 2008. True, we conservative Christians might not seem the logical home for you, but you do know where we stand, we are ready to compromise and we will never, ever betray you. You might want to think about that as you watch the debate, and make your donation and voting choices.

That's right.

Republicans -- right-wing conservative Republicans, who have blazed a trail of hatred and bigotry against gay people for 20+ years -- are positioning themselves as the alternative for gay people tired of Democratic duplicity.

The mind boggles. The jaw drops. The eyes cross.

How desperate can the Republicans get, as their party continues to crumble into dust?

I mean seriously. Think about this for a second.

These are the same Republicans who sponsored a Constitutional Amendment designed to make us second class citizens.

These are the same Republicans who launched an anti-gay jihad in dozens of states the last two elections, culminating in laws that took health benefits away from gay families in Michigan; that threatened the private consensual contracts of gay couples in Virginia with nullification; that passed state amendments that made gay people forever non-citizens of their states in major areas.

This is the same Republican Party that was instrumental in banning gay parenting in Florida, whose "moderate" Bush governor endorsed that law.

This is the same Republican party under which discharges from the military have soared to new heights in the middle of a war -- and then complains about shortages in the areas where the discharges have hit hardest.

This is the same Republican Party whose administration dramatically increased the number of challenges to asylum applications for gay and lesbian foreigners seeking refuge in this country from murder -- while simultaneously loosening standards for religious persecution and other categories of individual less under threat than ever before. (Dozens have been sent back to their countries to be tortured and murdered as a result).

This is the same Republican Party that runs a fake "libertarian" presidential nominee who declares in Congress that the Constitution doesn't "guarantee a right to sodomy," and that Supreme Court justices who cited the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law overruled the rights of "the people of Texas" to imprison their gay populations.

This is the same Republican Party whose "pro-civil union" candidate thinks that New Hampshire's civil unions "go too far" because they're called "spousal unions."

This is the same Republican Party who wields federal ERISA regulations as a club to target gay families who are legally married or partnered and permits employers to cite ERISA as a precedent for overruling mutually-agreed-upon employment benefits -- ex post facto.

This is the same Republican Party who colluded with Democrats to do a lot of this stuff -- and plenty more.

Yes, we "know where the Republicans stand." They stand on the precipice of the chasm of irrelevant, hateful, mean-spirited, meddlesome, statist politics -- and thankfully they'll be hurtling off the edge shortly.

And Republicans will "never, ever betray" us?

They haven't just betrayed gay Americans. They've betrayed all of us -- ALL Americans -- through their un-American campaigns. . . their persistent assaults on our shared humanity, our shared and cherished Constitutional rights and freedoms, our families, our men and women in uniform, our neighbors, and our very decency as a nation of laws.

Disillusioned Democrats and Republicans already know that if they want a party that REALLY stands for something -- including the equality under the law of ALL Americans (gay or straight) -- they've got a real choice. . . the Libertarian choice.

The only choice Republicans have, given their record, is to what degree they'll ask for forgiveness for their sins against our Republic and the American Way.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Libertarian Presidential Nominee Robert Milnes Answers Our Survey

We screwed up. Thanks to the "usefulness" of Yahoo's bulk mail filter, Robert Milnes's reply to our survey -- dated 22 May -- sat in my junk mail filter. Fortunately, no other candidate surveys are in there.

Our apologies go out to Mr. Milnes, his campaign, and most importantly, our readers, for not getting this information to you in a timely manner.

We have heard from one other campaign that they have not yet received the survey. As a result, I will be contacting each "quiet" campaign once again to make sure they received the survey, and ascertain whether they wish to participate. My top priority is that you get the scoop on where Libertarian candidates stand on LGBTQ issues.

So without further ado, here is Robert Milnes' answers to our survey questions.

1) Since the early 1990s, Congressional legislation has blocked LGBTQ people from serving openly in the military. This discriminatory legislation, commonly referred to as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (or DADT), has resulted in the discharge of thousands of qualified military personnel solely on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. As president, will you support the complete repeal of DADT and issue an executive order as Commander in Chief permitting openly LGBTQ people to serve in the military?


2) In 1996, Congress passed (and Bill Clinton signed) the Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA). This law overrules the constitutional right of LGBTQ people to equal protection under the law by banning all federal recognition of same-sex relationships for various purposes (such as sponsoring a foreign partner for a visa, or filing a joint tax return). It also allows states to ignore the Constitution’s “full faith and credit” clause and reject other states’ certification of same-sex relationships. As president, will you support efforts to overturn DOMA?


3) LGBTQ people are subject to unequal tax treatment in a number of areas. For example, while opposite-sex married couples aren’t taxed for joint health benefits, same-sex couples must pay income tax on domestic partner benefits that include health care coverage. Asset transfer taxes, estate taxes, and inheritance taxes that aren’t charged to heterosexual couples must be paid by LGBTQ couples. As a result, many LGBTQ couples will pay over five times the tax of a comparable heterosexual couple over the life of their relationship. As president, will you take steps to eliminate tax discrimination against LGBTQ people?


4) The District of Columbia is a federally-administered District. Recently, Congress has considered and/or passed a number of laws related to LGBTQ issues in the district that are distinctly homophobic, including a ban on gay adoptions, a ban on recognition of same-sex couples, and a law forbidding gay people from having their out-of-district adoptions recognized. As president, will you veto this legislation and other similar legislation in the District of Columbia?


5) At this moment, the House and Senate are considering “hate crimes” legislation that seeks to make attacks on gay people (as well as certain other minorities) “more” of a crime than a violent attack on a member of a majority class. As president, will you lobby against – and veto – such legislation?


6) At this moment, the House and Senate are considering the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would regulate businesses and ban the right of employers and employees to voluntary affiliation by banning private sector discrimination based on sexual orientation while possibly creating hiring quotas mandating the hiring of LGBTQ people. As president, will you veto ENDA?


7) LGBTQ people around the world face tremendous challenges in the face of government and societal persecution. In places ranging from the Palestinian Authority to Iran to China to Singapore to Algeria to Zimbabwe, LGBTQ people are regularly imprisoned, tortured, beaten, mutilated, and murdered simply because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Many seek asylum in the United States, but find their application delayed or denied due to government policies that seek to limit immigration. As a result, the US government regularly sends back thousands of people to an uncertain fate – or worse, a certain fate of torture and death – rather than welcoming the oppressed. As president, will you support efforts to reform the immigration system to allow oppressed LGBTQ people from abroad to find sanctuary and freedom in America?


8) State and federal regulations have severely restricted the availability of certain kinds of health insurance, such as “catastrophic care” coverage, to force people into expensive HMOs and similar programs that offer so-called “comprehensive” coverage. As a result, healthy LGBTQ people have not been able to buy insurance that fits their needs, and many are unable to afford health insurance – rendering them vulnerable to catastrophic illness (and financial stress) as a result. As president, will you support efforts to eliminate regulations that restrict the ability of LGBTQ people to buy health insurance that is “right-sized” for them?


9) The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) is legislation currently in Congress that would allow unmarried Americans (heterosexual or gay) to sponsor a same-sex or opposite-sex partner for residency in the United States. As president, will you support UAFA?


10) As president, you will be the chief executive of the federal government, with tremendous decision-making power over general employment policy. Will you take steps to ensure that gay federal employees are treated equally to heterosexual employees in the provision of health care benefits and other conditions related to employment?


11) Efforts to water down, or even eliminate, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms have been gaining momentum. Self-defense is a crucial right for many LGBTQ people, who have often avoided severe injury or even death due to the prudent use of a firearm for self-defense. Organizations such as the Pink Pistols have emerged to help protect and defend this right. As president, will you unambiguously support the right of LGBTQ Americans – and all other law-abiding people – to keep and bear arms for self-defense as outlined in the US Constitution?


12) LGBTQ parents – especially adoptive parents – often find difficulty in traveling across the country due to anti-gay state laws that refuse to recognize their status as parents granted by their home state. Some have even lost custody of their children due to a simple vacation that took them into “hostile territory.” This is in direct violation of the Constitution’s full faith and credit clause that requires states to recognize other states’ certifications and legal status. As president, will you take steps to uphold the full faith and credit clause to ensure that LGBTQ parents don’t suddenly become legal strangers to their children simply by crossing a state line?


13) Do you have any other comments or statements that you’d like to make to the LGBTQ community?

Yes. Your questionaire is very relevent to your issues. Assuming it is honestly answered it identifies "real" libertarian candidates and gets them on the record. As to which real libertarian you endorse or choose, that seems to have to be made on other criteria.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Grinding the news into Gravel

The Advocate has run a puff piece on Mike Gravel.

Just who is Mike Gravel? You'd be hard-pressed to know the answer without reading the article. Yours truly had never heard of him until stumbling across the linked article.

He's apparently a little-known candidate for the Democratic nomination for president of the USA. His claim to fame is a minute-long YouTube film of him skipping rocks across a pond and a cameo on the Daily Show.

His campaign, so far, has raised only about $100,000 -- or less than 10% of the typical budget for the Libertarian presidential campaign in a bad fundraising year.

So of course, the queer Democratic-leaning media gives him plenty of attention -- including pats on the back for positions that aren't any more pro-gay than those espoused by the frontrunners for the Libertarian nomination (as polled by Outright Libertarians).

Then, a year after Mr. Gravel is forgotten -- when the Libertarian candidate is chosen, has $2 million to spend on a campaign, and espouses unapologetically pro-gay positions on the issues -- much of the queer press will inevitably decline to provide any proportional coverage of the Libertarian campaign. . . let alone meaningful coverage.

The war drums will beat for Hillary, Obama, or whoever bears the Democrats' brass ring, regardless of their substantive position on LGBTQ issues.

And the most ironic part of the whole thing is that huge swaths of the queer press will inevitably cite "a lack of campaign funds" as a reason not to cover the national candidates who aren't Demopublicans or Republicrats. Just 12 months after publishing a glowing report of a Democrat with less than 10% of the funding power, who supposedly merits coverage because "with little chance of winning, he can say almost anything, which should make for a deadly combination."

Meanwhile, our candidate won't be saying "almost anything" -- (s)he'll be saying something.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

If at first you don't succeed, rinse, repeat, and repeat again

The queer left is beating the drums for ENDA once again.

A new study shows that despite a patchwork of state non-discrimination laws covering gays in various parts of the country employment harassment remains at nearly the same level it did a decade ago.

Not a surprise. As Libertarians regularly point out, "nondiscrimination" laws aren't effective at stopping discrimination. If someone senior wants you fired, for any reason, you'll get fired -- regardless of what the law says.

So, the left has given up on this failed experiment and embraced equality under the law, rather than special protections, right?


We can clearly document that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are vulnerable to discrimination and to its harmful effects on earnings and jobs."

Badgett said that the only remedy is federal legislation to outlaw sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.

So let me get this. . . ummmmmmm. . . "straight" -- "nondiscrimination" laws are generally a failure and have literally no impact whatsoever on supposed discrimination in the workplace.

So, the remedy to the utter and complete failure of "nondiscrimination" laws is another "nondiscrimination" law that just happens to be federal rather than state -- but in every other way, identical to the laws that have failed previously.

Has Speaker Pelosi managed to borrow a real magic wand from a drag queen fairy princess from Pride, despite her no-show status at this year's San Francisco event, to make the legislation magically work?

Will Californians, New Yorkers, Massachuttans, and other states covered by "nondiscrimination" law suddenly become more accepting and loving of gay people in the workplace when the law demanding compliance is printed by the federal Government Printing Office rather than the state legislature's stationer's office?

And perhaps the most important question of all -- when will left-leaning gay groups get real and get on board with grassroots priorities coming from the gay everyman, such as marriage equality and military service equality?

The reality, as I'm sure most of you know, is that on-the-job bigotry is vanishing like a California fog on a hot summer's day -- legislation notwithstanding. The current competitive job market means that companies who value key employees need ones who work hard and deliver results -- regardless of irrelevancies like sexual orientation.

By continually fudging numbers to deliver foregone conclusions of "workplace crises" that don't exist, the left is pushing for new laws that will keep Democratic politicians and their trial lawyer buddies in clover for years to come.

The sad thing is that Outright has always pointed out how ineffective and harmful such laws are -- and now that their own research underscores our perspective, they're increasing the volume on how more such laws are needed!

I'd shake my head, but I've been doing that so much the past four days that it's starting to hurt.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Nancy Pelosi: "Too Busy" To Do Any Work

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) was once again "too busy" to show up at Pride:

Pride Executive Director Lindsey Jones said Pelosi, the first woman to be elected speaker of the House, received the most votes from Pride's membership as the person they most wanted to hear speak at this year's event.

"We asked Pelosi to come speak," said Jones. "Our membership voted her as the number one requested speaker."

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill told the Bay Area Reporter that the speaker's schedule does not allow for her to return to San Francisco during Pride weekend.

Did the date for Pride magically change this year to make it unpredictable? Nope.

Was it a secret that Pelosi was in demand? Hardly -- people had written her for six months asking her to show ("most requested speaker," remember?)

What else has Pelosi been "too busy" for in the last few years?

Pelosi has *always* been too busy to show up for a general election debate. Not once in her entire career in the House has she deigned to appear to debate her Libertarian, Republican and Green competitors in Congressional elections.

Pelosi was "too busy" to make good on the Democrats' campaign promise to pull out of Iraq. Instead, she had a symbolic resolution followed up with a vote that handed Bush a blank check for $120 billion (but Pelosi wasn't "too busy" to cast a meaningless symbolic "no" vote against her own Iraq funding bill to show her "disapproval." Whoopee.)

Pelosi is "too busy" to co-sponsor or allow a bill repealing the military's anti-gay policy to come to the floor of the House.

Pelosi has been "too busy" to vote to revoke the DOMA bill (or even amend it to allow federal recognition of same-sex marriages that are recognized by US states).

Pelosi has been "too busy" to campaign for marriage equality.

Pelosi did have extensive time for certain activities this past year -- voting on renaming post offices and other inconsequential minutiae, as well as demanding that taxpayers furnish her with unlimited use of a Boeing 757 with 40+ business class seats, a kitchen and a bedroom.

The reality is that Pelosi, as a consummate Democratic Party triangulator, doesn't give a fig about gay rights or the gay people of San Francisco. She holds them in utter contempt -- refusing to debate the issues in front of them or find time for even the most basic Congressional duties, such as constituent service at major cultural events (like SF Pride) and voting on key legislation that she claims to support.

So when Pelosi comes calling for money, votes, or gay campaign resources, I humbly suggest that we inform Madame Speaker that our schedules won't allow us to accommodate her -- we're just too busy.

Going Further, But They've Got To Do Better

Outright Libertarians has been a fixture at San Francisco Pride for a number of years, and we've come to the conclusion that good things happen at Pride. Groups who disagree on the direction of the LGBTQ movement meet, share ideas, and hopefully pull in the same direction. Politicians who are friendly to the community (and equal treatment by government) are embraced, and other politicians who attack LGBTQ people receive the infamous "Pink Brick Award."

This year, we had a fantastic pride -- hundreds of booth attendees, cheers for our marching contingent, and a positive reception from most Pride attendees we spoke with. The appeal of liberty, as always, is strong in the gay community.

Elizabeth Edwards is neither a politician nor anti-gay, and she "came out" in support of gay marriage during SF Pride. Yet another good Pride thing, in our estimation.

Outright gives credit where credit is due, regardless of the party affiliation of the public figure who has earned it. And we're pleased to be able to give kudos to Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of John Edwards -- one of the top-tier candidates for the Democratic Party's presidential nominations.

Mrs. Edwards stated, in an interview with the Associated Press, underscored her support for "gay rites":

None of the major candidates for the White House in 2008 has embraced legalizing gay marriage, but Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of one hopeful, John Edwards, said yesterday that she's ready.

"I don't know why someone else's marriage has anything to do with me," Mrs. Edwards said after delivering a speech to a gay and lesbian political group here, according to the Associated Press.

Goodness, she sounds positively libertarian! She's absolutely right -- someone else's marriage is the business of those "someone elses." This comment elicited a small cheer from your faithful blogger.

She continues:

"I'm completely comfortable with gay marriage."

Hurrah! So we are about to learn about a new direction for the Edwards campaign, in embracing a libertarian incrementalist approach to marriage equality, right?

Mrs. Edwards acknowledged that her husband, a former senator from North Carolina, still opposes gay marriage, though he supports civil unions.

Uh oh.

"John has been pretty clear about it, that he is very conflicted," she said. "He has a deeply held belief against any form of discrimination, but that's up against his being raised in the 1950s in a rural southern town."

Oh dear.

Mrs. Edwards, we welcome you to the libertarian movement for marriage equality and look forward to your strong continued advocacy.

But unfortunately, we cannot look the other way as your husband plays "bad cop" to your "good cop."

The Democratic Party cannot have it both ways -- despite this new (and clever) form of triangulation. Either the candidate supports marriage equality, or he/she doesn't. While it's wonderful that Mrs. Edwards is a supporter of LGBTQ marriage equality, we caution the media (and voters) to be wary of efforts to have her positions be confused with Edwards' steadfast opposition to equal treatment of queer folk.

So while Mrs. Edwards might be a breath of fresh air for Democrats, her husband's candidacy offers more of the same. Meanwhile, top-tier Libertarian candidates seeking our party's nomination have the right position on gay marriage equality and equality under the law -- no apologies or "spousal clarifications" necessary.

So in short: Sorry Democrats, you've made an inch of progress, but you've got to do better than this.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bob Barr publishes op-ed opposing DADT

Former Republican congressman Bob Barr, now a member of the Libertarian National Committee, has published a major op-ed in the Wall Street Journal [subscription required] stating his opposition to the military's Don't Ask - Don't Tell policy.
The bottom line here is that, with nearly a decade and a half of the hybrid "don't ask, don't tell" policy to guide us, I have become deeply impressed with the growing weight of credible military opinion which concludes that allowing gays to serve openly in the military does not pose insurmountable problems for the good order and discipline of the services.

. . .

The invasive investigations required to discharge a service member are an unconscionable intrusion into the private lives of American citizens. Worse, while supporters of don't ask, don't tell claim the policy only regulates behavior and not identity, the distinction is disingenuous.
Since joining the Libertarian Party as a life member, Mr. Barr has reversed his former prosecutorial position on medical marijuana, becoming a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project. Now, Libertarians can be comforted by Barr's having joined the majority Libertarian position opposing DADT.

Thank you, Mr. Barr, for joining with Outright Libertarians, SLDN, ACLU, MEA, the Call to Duty Tour, and others in fighting this unjust law.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Republicans abandon federalism over marriage

Shortly after the Massachusetts Legislature killed a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, Republican presidential candidate (and former Massachusetts governor) Mitt Romney called for an amendment to the US Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Will John McCain and Rudy Giuliani follow him?

I'm thinking they will, but I've been wrong before. On Angela Keaton's Liberated Space radio show just a couple weeks ago, I was certain that the Massachusetts ban would make it onto the 2008 ballot. I just didn't have any faith in the Democrats in the Massachusetts Legislature voting the right way. Now, it's safely off the ballot until at least 2010. Once again, though, I have little faith in the Republicans to uphold federalism by opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment. I'd love to be proven wrong again.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bush's Surgeon General Will "Cure" Gays?

Okay, this is one of those weird political battles where Libertarians are insulted on so many levels, we don't quite know where to start.

First of all, a Libertarian government wouldn't have such a thing as a Surgeon General to begin with. But if we're going to have such an office in the federal government, then we sure as heck shouldn't give that office to someone so blinded by dogma that he ignores all scientific and medical evidence proving that "reparative therapy" simply does not work.

You're an M.D., Dr. Holsinger. Act like it.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Empty Democratic "Support" Redux

Today, let's look at another major LGBTQ issue being debated by Democrats -- ending the military's anti-gay ban.

The Advocate reports that:

In their debate Sunday night in Manchester, New Hampshire, Democratic presidential candidates clashed on Iraq and over the security of the country since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks—but they were united in their opposition to "don't ask, don't tell."

So, being a facts-based sort of fellow, yours truly went sniffing around the vote page again to see if the Democrats were taking this opportunity to put their money where their mouths were. After all, you'd think that with ending the anti-gay ban being a mainstream position supported by a supermajority of the populace, this would be a no-brainer -- especially for "supportive Democrats."

Unfortunately, once again, you'd be wrong.

To his credit, Congressman Dennis Kucinich once again sits as a co-sponsor of Meehan's bill in the House. (And once again, "supportive" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is missing in action).

All the other Democrats who are presently Senators couldn't be bothered to introduce the bill in the Senate, despite their "strong support." So once again, their "strong support" means zilch, zero, bupkis, nada.

None of the Senators seeking the Democratic nomination -- not Hillary Clinton, nor Barack Obama, nor Christopher Dodd, nor Joe Biden -- has stepped up to introduce the bill in the Senate. Also conspicuously missing is Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid.

Here's a question to make do-nothing Democrats and their supporters squirm -- if the Democratic "leadership" and those seeking the presidency won't introduce the bill today, when they have the power (and solid majority) to do so, why are we to believe they'll make things happen later?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Democrats -- We "Support" UAFA, Just Don't Ask Us To Sponsor It

As Rob noted in his prior post, HRC is breathlessly extolling the virtues of the Democratic National Committee's latest candidates for president.

Now far be it for me to interrupt HRC's paroxysms of joy over its new status as a quasi-official wing of the Democratic Party, but I am focused on the issues.

One of the biggest issues this election season is the Uniting American Families Act, or UAFA, which would equalize immigration treatment for same-sex couples to the same standard that opposite sex couples already enjoy.

HRC excitedly informs us that every single Democratic candidate "supports that bill."

A number of the candidates are Senators or Congressmen.

So, how about a Roll Call of Senators or Congressmen who are cosponsors (or primary sponsors) of UAFA?

You'd expect Hillary Rodham Clinton to be a cosponsor of the bill, right?

Wrong. Hillary Clinton hasn't cosponsored it in the Senate.

What about Senator Barack Obama? Surely he'd be in our corner!

Ooops, he's not a co-sponsor either.

Joe Biden? Now here's a Senator with a long tenure. Oops, except that he's not a co-sponsor either.

How about Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd? He hails from a state with a civil unions bill, passed democratically and signed by a GOP governor.

Nope, he's not a co-sponsor either.

In fact, the UAFA in the Senate has a pathetic three cosponsors -- in addition to primary sponsor Daniel Patrick Leahy, Senators Brown, Feingold and Inouye have stepped up to the plate.

The moral of the story?

Count on Democrats to tell HRC they "support" various equality reforms. Just don't count on them to actually vote for them.

Nor on HRC to do it's job and ask the putative "supporters" why their name isn't on the cosponsors' line.

To his credit, Dennis Kucinich is the only Democratic candidate to be a cosponsor of the bill (in the House of Representatives), but being that he's the only Democrat in the race who actually votes for his declared positions -- and the only Democrat to support marriage equality -- he doesn't stand a snowball's chance of being the Democrats' nominee.

Oh, and if you really want a good chuckle, neither Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, nor Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada could bother putting their signature on the line either.

Long story short? With "supporters" of UAFA like these Democrats, the bill will never come to fruition.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

If you blink, you'll miss it

The Human Rights Campaign has announced that all of the announced Democratic Party candidates support equal treatment of same-sex couples (with the exception of the word "marriage").

That sounds wonderful. And if I had any faith whatsoever that the eventual nominee will stick to this position, I'd be ecstatic. But as Bill Clinton proved in 1992, a Democrat pandering for gay votes can't be trusted to honor their campaign promises if elected. So, go ahead and download a copy of the HRC questionnaire, because once the primary is over, the DNC nominee will abandon these pro-equality positions, and HRC will bury the story.

Note, however, that even with what HRC calls "groundbreaking" support for same-sex couples, the Democrats (with the exception of Kucinich) are still behind the leading Libertarian candidates on the issue of equal marriage. It's great to see the Democrats making progress (at least in their rhetoric) on LGBT issues, but they still haven't caught up with the Libertarians.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Big government is a threat to LGBT equality

Once again, we've had another example of why big government, whether socialist, communist, or fascist, is a threat to LGBT people. When Russian police helped nationalists attack gays in Moscow, it showed that only strong constitutional protections of individual rights will lead to LGBT equality. Some comments over at Towleroad whined that the problem is that Russia isn't a democracy. But that's missing the point. If a democratic vote were held today in Russia on gay rights, the treatment of LGBT people there would be a whole lot worse than bloody noses and black eyes.

Our community needs to wake up and figure out that we are a biologically determined permanent minority of less than 1/10 of the population. Given that fact, we can't rely on big government, whether autocratic or democratic, to protect us. Our best strategy is to pursue an agenda of minimizing government and maximizing individual rights and responsibilities for all people, so that our own government, funded by our own tax dollars, can't be used to abuse us.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

MassEquality recognizes Liberty more important than Democracy (finally)

For years, as a member of the MassEquality coalition, Outright Libertarians has been trying to advance the idea that Liberty is more important than Democracy.

But because the MassEquality coalition is dominated by left-wing groups who put "the will of the people" above all else, this message has been all but ignored.

Until now.

MassEquality recently unveiled their "It's Wrong to Vote on Rights" campaign, complete with nicely done TV ads.

Now, do we expect MassEquality and its mostly-liberal supporters to take this same position the next time Libertarians oppose a tax or regulation like eminent domain in Massachusetts? Of course not. Because they don't really mean "It's wrong to vote on ALL rights." For them, property rights don't count.

But despite this, and other outrages like supporting anti-marriage Democrat Sean Curran over pro-marriage Libertarian Bob Underwood in last year's election, I have to say that these TV ads are good, and they (unintentionally) send a strong libertarian message. So, I'm sending MassEquality a donation to get these ads on the air. You should do the same.

Besides, won't it be cool the next time we do a Libertarian campaign to oppose some state regulation or tax, and use an identical format for our TV ads? It will be difficult for the lefties to demonize Libertarians as "arch-conservatives" when our own ads are eerily similar to theirs.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hate Crimes Laws: Putting the "USSR" in "USA"

We hate to say "we told you so" to various hate-crime laws proponents -- including fellow libertarians -- but. . . well. . . we told you so.

Two high school girls in Illinois have been arrested and charged with an anti-gay hate crime.

Did they assault a gay man or woman? Perhaps murder someone?


They wrote a brochure with anti-gay comments in it.

The Associated Press reports:

A judge Tuesday ordered that one of two teens charged with a hate crime for distributing fliers that contained hateful messages toward gays at a Crystal Lake high school remain in custody at a juvenile detention center until her trial.


The girls were arrested this month after they allegedly were caught distributing the fliers in Crystal Lake South High School’s parking lot. The fliers depicted a male student kissing another boy, along with hateful statements about gays.

Students told the Northwest Herald that the girls produced the fliers to get revenge on a friend after their relationship soured.

The alleged victim of the hate crime also is the neighbor to one of the girls charged, according to court testimony.

Now, I have no doubt that the girls in question are unpleasant people -- and that their message was probably hateful and offensive.

But last time I checked, the Constitution guaranteed freedom of expression -- including for anti-gay messages that are unpopular.

Our country has always been a bastion of free expression and free ideas. Anti-gay ideas, racist ideas, fascist ideas, communist ideas, and other ideological threats to the health of our society have not been defeated through draconian legislation or central planning -- but through the victory of liberty in the free market of ideas, where debate is unfettered by the chilling effects of state censorship.

Sadly, hate crimes laws destroy this dynamic.

And lest you think that, as a gay person you are safe, consider the recent death of Jerry Falwell.

In San Francisco, local gay activists jubilantly handed out brochures condemning the late and not-so-great Reverend's death -- replete with some unflattering, perhaps even "hateful," comments about his flock.

Will we soon be seeing the arrest of gay activists for brochures that "victimize" right-wing preachers through "hateful statements about fundamentalist Christians?"

I'm afraid so. In fact, with laws like these on the books, it's inevitable. That's why it's imperative that they be repealed -- or failing that, challenged in court and struck down as unconstitutional -- posthaste.