Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Libertarian Nomination Candidate Christine Smith Speaks Out

As part of Outright's mission, we submitted a survey to the individual LP presidential nomination candidates asking them (or their campaign staff) to provide their perspectives on issues important to LGBTQ people of a libertarian bent.

We encourage you to get involved with the upcoming election by engaging candidates with your questions, and if so inclined, your volunteer time, money and energy as well. A successful 2008 Libertarian campaign depends on your input!

Christine Smith was the first candidate to return our survey last week, and thus is the first entry on our blog. Her answers to our survey are provided verbatim in boldface, our questions are in italics. As we receive answers from other campaigns, we will post them here on the blog as well. Questions should be directed to the Smith campaign. Comments are welcome in the comments field below the blog entry.
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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?

1. YES. The DADT is horrible legislation with the following results: Continued physical and verbal harassment of gays, lesbians and bisexuals; The discharge of thousands of fine men and women from service to our country. The DADT policy is a clear example of continued federal discrimination. Military personnel should be held to the same equal requirements physically, mentally, emotionally ---no one should be prohibited from service because of their sexual orientation.

I fully support openly gay individuals serving our nation. I will do everything within my power to immediately eliminate the DADT policy and all other such discriminatory practices. One's sexual partners and orientation prior to and during military service is no business of the federal government. I will order an immediate end to this horrible injustice by the federal government against LGBTQ individuals. I believe in full equality, and I oppose all laws that discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender Americans.

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?

2. YES. I am for the immediate repeal of DOMA, and I oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment. Although I do not believe it is the business of government to be involved in granting marriage licenses, as long as the government issues marriage licenses and grants special privileges and benefits based on marital status, the same advantages must be granted equally to all married couples. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land protecting all citizens; no state shall supersede the U.S. Constitutionally guaranteed rights of American citizens, and all citizens must be provided "equal protection" of the laws.

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?

3. YES. I will take immediate steps to eliminate all federal 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?

4. YES. I will veto all discriminatory legislation in the District of Columbia - no exceptions.

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?

5. YES. I oppose all such "hate crime" legislation. This is because I oppose all laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation. All Americans must be treated equally under the law. There should be no 'special" groups of people granted "special" rights or protections. I oppose laws making some crimes worse than others based on assumed motives-- every crime must be judged on the law broken not who committed the crime, who the victim was, or why. I support equality under law for all; and strong enforcement of the existing laws we have protecting all individuals of our nation against being harmed.

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 create hiring quotas mandating the hiring of LGBTQ people. As president, will you veto ENDA?

6. YES. I oppose all such federal government mandates imposed on the private sector, so I would of course 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?

7. YES. Immigration law has long been discriminatory throughout our nation's history, so I will use my power to bring equality--across the board--to our immigration policy since federal discrimination against any group of people is unjust. I am for immigration equality.

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?

8. YES. I will do this for all Americans - the key to getting affordable healthcare and affordable health insurance is to get the federal government out of healthcare completely. Mandated health insurance benefit laws have driven health insurance costs high resulting in fewer people being covered. Americans should be able to purchase medical services and insurance free from government controls just as medical provision and insurance should be able to sell their services free from government control. Government control and mandates--both federal and state--are responsible for higher medical costs and higher premiums. It's big government interference that's responsible for the high cost of insurance, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals.

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?

9. YES. As I said in #7, Immigration law has long been discriminatory throughout our nation's history, so I will use my power to bring equality--across the board--to our immigration policy since federal discrimination against any group of people is unjust. I am for immigration equality.

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?

10. YES.

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?

11. YES. I am pro-self defense. The Second Amendment must be restored. Firearm ownership is to be absolutely protected. I oppose gun control laws. Citizens must have the right to self-defense. Your right to bear arms is not negotiable. I oppose federal laws and regulations which intrude upon the rights of the American people to keep and bear arms and provide for their own self-defense. "Gun control" laws restrict law-abiding people, they do not make people safer. Criminals can always obtain their guns and will ignore gun bans. Federal gun regulations are against your rights and result in victim disarmament. Laws must be strong against perpetrators of violent crime, not the tool they use. Infringement laws prevent people from defending themselves. Firearms save lives.

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?

12. YES. The highest law of the land is the U.S. Constitution. State law may not supersede it; thus states may not violate the constitutional protections guaranteed all citizens, and that applies both to recognition of adoptions and marriages granted in other states.

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

13. YES. First, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my political views with you through the above questionnaire.

Second, I would like to take this opportunity to share a few of my beliefs with you...

I believe there are only two emotions in life: love and fear. All other thoughts or feelings we may experience come from one of those. Love is unconditional and views all equally. Fear focuses on differences and believes "love" can be divided. It is the powerful emotion of fear which manipulates people into allowing government to take more and more of our liberties away. It is also fear which manipulates people into hating anyone that differs from themselves. But I believe love is far more powerful. Love recognizes all as equal. Love exists in perfect freedom and liberty. Love is bold, strong, and courageous. I believe love is the answer.

Throughout my campaign both prior to receiving the LP nomination, and after I receive it, I will use my position as your Libertarian spokesperson to boldly support equality for the LGBTQ community. I am already doing so through my campaign website, radio show appearances (I've reached millions already through my appearances on AM-Radio shows nationwide including several 50,000-watt stations), and my political activism in the past. I want to be the strongest spokesperson possible, using my platform most effectively for what we believe are working to achieve. Thus, I am receptive to and seek Outright Libertarians' advice, guidance and ideas. I will be the strongest, most articulate spokesperson for the Libertarian Party-educating, enlightening and recruiting more Americans into the LP...and I will be the strongest, most articulate (and only) presidential candidate speaking for the equal treatment for the LGBTQ community.

I will be a voice for an end to all federal discrimination.

I will be a voice for liberty.

I will be a voice for love.

Thank you, Outright Libertarians, for this opportunity to share with you my views. I invite you to my campaign website http://www.LibertarianForPresident.com

Christine Smith, Libertarian Candidate for President
Christine Smith for President
15400 W. 64th Ave., E9-105
Arvada, Colorado 80007
(303) 532-4185