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.