Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Outright Annual Meeting and Hospitality Suite at Denver LP National Convention

Please join us at the Libertarian National Convention in Denver from May 21 to 26, where Outright Libertarians will hold its annual meeting concurrently in the convention hotel (Sheraton/Adam's Mark). We will be electing officers and hearing reports from our state coordinators.

We will also have a hospitality suite most nights, so please stop by and visit with other GLBT and straight ally Libertarians in a social setting.

(Please visit the Outright Libertarians booth just outside the main convention hall for details on date/time/location of our events in Denver.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Another Gay-Basher for Obama

Former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn has endorsed Barack Obama, and is taking a senior role on the Obama campaign as a policy adviser.

If Nunn's name sounds familiar, it's because he was instrumental in the effort to preserve the military's anti-gay ban. In 1993, Bill Clinton's half-hearted effort to repeal the military's anti-gay ban was opposed stridently by Nunn.

Nunn, then a senior Democratic Senator, stood up and declared that "homosexuality is incompatible with military service."

That same bigoted, hateful language is now enshrined in the most recent Republican party platform as well.

This news underscores three realities central to the 2008 campaign:

1) Obama has a bad habit of cozying up to anti-gay forces, be they religious bigots like McClurkin and Meeks, or political bigots like Nunn;

2) Gay Democrats who support his candidacy are in fundamental denial of Obama's lack of leadership on gay issues and willingness to pander to homophobia for political power;

3) There's not much difference on gay issues between the leading Democratic and Republican candidacies. In fact, the GOP's language for opposition to equality in military service was provided, verbatim, by the military "brain" in the Obama campaign.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It really is just that simple

I've had several people ask me why Outright Libertarians hasn't put together a proposal for what to do about the Defense of Marriage Act. I've always wondered at this question, because I thought that's what we had been doing for the past several years -- our proposal is simply that DOMA be repealed entirely.

However, I understand that what most of these folks are asking for is language that would only partially repeal DOMA -- the part that's the most anti-federalist (or in Dixiecrat terms, "violates states rights"). And while I consider this option sub-optimal, it's clearly better than nothing, and nobody out there (Clinton, Obama, Barr, etc.) has laid out the specifics of what exactly a partial repeal would look like. So here goes:

Repeal from Chapter 1, Title 1 of the United States Code:

Sec. 7. Definition of `marriage' and `spouse'

`In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word `marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word `spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.'.

In addition, there'd need to be a clerical amendment to the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 1 of title 1, USC, removing:

`7. Definition of `marriage' and `spouse'.'.

It's just that simple. This tiny bill to repeal the anti-federalist second half of DOMA would overnight require that the IRS, Immigration (ICE), federal courts, and all other federal bureaucracies treat same-sex couples married in Massachusetts exactly the same as they treat opposite-sex married couples. Joint filing of taxes, sponsorship of one's spouse for a green card, being able to deduct spousal health benefits from taxation, etc. -- nothing all that sexy, just stuff that straight married people take for granted. And once this repeal passes, we can repeal the other half or just wait for the Supreme Court to realize that the other half is a blatant violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and rule the law unconstitutional.

So, hopefully, this puts to rest once and for all the various criticisms that amount to "but what's Outright's proposal?" You have it now, in plain text, and it was just this simple all along.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax Day proves that separate is unequal

While all of us Libertarians tend to be activists on Tax Day each year, those of us Libertarians who are also LGBT-identified have an extra reason to be angry. Not only are we not getting our money's worth, just as most Americans do not, but those of us who have married in a jurisdiction where same-sex unions are recognized face an extra penalty of not being able to file our federal income taxes jointly.

There are two main effects of the different treatment under federal law.

One is the tax rate. Take two couples where one partner has a taxable income of $20,000 and the other makes $40,000. If they can file their federal taxes jointly, the tax bill would be $8,217.50. Filing separately, the combined bill would be $9,032.50 -- more than $800 higher.

Another disparity comes with the federal government's treatment of employer-provided health insurance, which also affects unmarried heterosexual couples.

For example, Dan Jessup is a project manager at JPMorgan Chase in Indiana. His partner, Bob Chenoweth, is self-employed, running two businesses out of the couple's Mooresville, Indiana, home. So Chenoweth gets health insurance through Chase.

But Jessup is required to count the company's cost of his partner's benefits as additional income for tax purposes.

State and federal taxes on those benefits cost about $1,800 per year, Jessup said.

Let's see Congress fix that marriage penalty!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Philadelphia Gay News Calls Out Obama's Arrogant Dismissal Of Gay Voters

Once again, Democrat Barack Obama has shown his contempt for gay Americans.

After courting anti-gay votes through affiliations with anti-gay preachers, and advocating segregation for gay Americans, Obama has refused to speak with the Philadelphia Gay News, one of the largest and most established LGBT papers in the country.

Unfortunately for Obama, the gay press has been operating increasingly independently of the Democratic Party as of late. They struck back and called Obama out on the carpet -- embarrassingly so.

Mark Segal, publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News, said, "Senator Obama's lack of dialogue with the local gay press is disappointing. The local gay press often is to the LGBT community what churches are to the black community."

Despite concerted efforts, Senator Barack Obama has not granted a formal interview to the Philadelphia Gay News. PGN, now in its 32nd year and the nation's most-honored LGBT newspaper, is taking the unusual step of displaying Obama's lack of communication to the local LGBT press, leaving blank space on the newspaper's front page where Obama's interview would have appeared, illustrating his lack of accessibility to the local gay press. Obama has not granted a formal interview to any local gay press in 1,522 days, when he spoke to the Windy City Times during his Senate race in 2004.

Good for them.

And to be fair to the other Democrat in the race, Hillary Clinton spoke with the PGN and pledged to eliminate unequal treatment in immigration and taxation.

Good for her (though it took her long enough to follow the Libertarian lead on these issues). We'll be sure to follow up on her commitments.

Even John McCain's campaign had the gumption to respectfully decline an interview with PGN. As their editor says:

"It's a sad day when we are treated with more respect from the Republican candidate, John McCain, than a Democratic senator," said Segal. "With McCain, his top press representative called us back within three hours. It took seven weeks for Obama's representative to acknowledge."

It's time that gay voters demand respect from candidates. Candidates who are not willing to speak to the LGBT press are showing a profoundly dismissive lack of respect for queer voters and our families. They do not deserve the time of day from gay people, let alone the continuous accolades they receive from their LGBT partisans including Chris Crain, John Aravosis and David Mixner.

We look forward to seeing the Philadelphia Gay News also interview Libertarian candidates for president, including Outright's endorsed candidate, Dr. George Phillies.