Monday, June 25, 2007

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.