Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bob Barr: I Will Work To Repeal DOMA

Libertarian Presidential Nominee Bob Barr described the Defense of Marriage Act as a "mistake" and decried how it is used to "club down the rights of law abiding citizens." The former Congressman, during his nomination speech, made an impassioned commitment to repeal the law.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Libertarian Party of California Statement on Marriage Equality Ruling

As the Republicans condemn the Court's decision and the Democrats try to distance themselves from it, only the Libertarians are publicly stating their support:

Kevin Takenaga, chair of the Libertarian Party of California, issued the following statement:

"People who truly cherish freedom see the Supreme Court decision as a victory for liberty and common sense."

Thank you, Kevin!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why Did Outright Endorse George Phillies For President?

We often get asked this question.

Today provided an excellent example of why Outright Libertarians endorses George Phillies.

It's one thing to "have" the right policies. It's another to fight for them, as Dr. Phillies has, for years.

Of the serious Libertarians running for nomination, only two sent out press releases about the marriage ruling in California today.

One of them was by Dr. Phillies. The other was by former Congressman Bob Barr. I present them here for comparison's sake.

Phillies on the ruling:

"It is wonderful to hear that once again our Courts have defended our Constitutional rights," Phillies said. "Once again, our courts have agreed that separate is not and cannot be equal. To to the people of California I say: Thank you for taking another step toward liberty and equality for all. To my civil-union supporting Democratic opponents I have a shorter message: Civil unions are major-party apartheid for GLBTQ people."

Barr on the ruling:

Regardless of whether one supports or opposes same sex marriage, the decision to recognize such unions or not ought to be a power each state exercises on its own

Phillies on DOMA:

"Voters should remember that conservative bigotry can be bipartisan," Phillies continued. "The depraved Defense of Marriage Act was authored by a Republican and passed with bipartisan support."


"Americans should cheer the good news that conservative bigotry has been driven back. You can tell when it is losing at the Federal level," Phillies noted, "because conservative bigots start bleating about 'Federalism' and their Jim Crow 'states rights' doctrine. Patriotic Americans know the truth: States have no right to take away your liberties."

Barr on DOMA:

Indeed, the primary reason for which I authored the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 was to ensure that each state remained free to determine for its citizens the basis on which marriage would be recognized within its borders, and not be forced to adopt a definition of marriage contrary to its views by another state.

As a lobby for fully equal and uniform treatment by government for LGBT people (and ALL people) under the law, Outright Libertarians has a duty to its membership and the Libertarian Party to support the candidates who best fight for that principle at a local, state and federal level.

Only two Libertarians saw fit to release presidential press releases on this topic -- effectively getting into the fight. And only one of those candidates embraced the proposition that equal protection of the law is not a discretionary thing to be implemented or revoked by pluralities, but an uncompromising and fundamental principle of the Constitution of our republic.

Not coincidentally, that candidate is also the one who earned our endorsement several months ago.

Supreme Court of California Rules for Marriage Equality

The ruling is in. California's Supreme Court has ruled in favor of marriage equality. The key intent expressed in the ruling:

It also is important to understand at the outset that our task in this proceeding is not to decide whether we believe, as a matter of policy, that the officially recognized relationship of a same-sex couple should be designated a marriage rather than a domestic partnership (or some other term), but instead only to determine whether the difference in the official names of the relationships violates the California Constitution

I believe this ruling, based on the Constitution of California, will have significant precedence in a federal court challenge to DOMA. A major US court has just ruled that excluding gay people from marriage, even if in name only constitutes a violation of the principles of equal protection under the law.

Despite what some Republicans claim, since our federal constitution also has strong equal protection clause in the Fourteenth Amendment (which applies both to state governments AND the federal government), this ruling could place additional pressure through precedent on the US Supreme Court to (at the very least) strike down DOMA language that bans federal recognition of California and Massachusetts marriages.

Anti-gay forces are preparing a constitutional amendment referendum campaign, similar to the failed effort in Massachusetts, to overturn the equal protection rights of LGBT Californians. Outright and the LP will both fight this effort vigorously, and I believe the hate amendment will ultimately fail.

The best news for California couples? California must begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses within thirty days. Congratulations to the California Supreme Court, and all of the families of California.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

California To Rule On Same-Sex Marriages On Thursday

Despite repeated legislative efforts for marriage equality that were vetoed by the Governator, California's Supreme Court is set to rule on the question of equal treatment in marriage law tomorrow.

Assuming that the court rules in favor of equality, it will be interesting to see what the response of anti-gay activists will be. After repeated majority votes to send gay marriage legislation to the governor for signature, it will be very difficult for those individuals opposed to equal government treatment to argue their standard "overruling the will of the majority" canard.

As always, Outright Libertarians and the Libertarian Party will continue to fight hard to advance marriage equality in California and every other state where it is not yet legal reality.

Outright Press Release On Bob Barr's Candidacy

The Executive Committee of Outright Libertarians today released the following statement regarding Bob Barr's candidacy for president:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Outright Libertarians Executive Committee Comments on Bob Barr's Declaration of Candidacy for the Libertarian Nomination

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO, SEATTLE, KNOXVILLE, PHILADELPHIA and ATLANTA -- This Monday, former Congressman (and recent LNC committee member) Bob Barr announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Nomination for President of the United States.

Many of you are wondering where Outright Libertarians stands on this recent development, and the short answer is this: our position has not changed.

We continue to strongly support Dr. George Phillies as our endorsed candidate. Dr. Phillies has shown the courage, character and commitment that Outright's membership seeks in a presidential nominee. A longtime Libertarian activist and longtime supporter of equality under the law for all people (including LGBT Americans), Dr. Phillies has established an enviable record of achievement in the fight for liberty.

His platform includes uncompromising support for the rights of LGBT Americans in military service, marriage, immigration, adoption, and tax treatment. He has been an implacable foe of the Defense of Marriage Act and the military's anti-gay recruitment policy since their inception. Most importantly, he has led important initiatives to fight for us everyday, while bringing the message of the Libertarian Party to LGBT people. We can think of no finer candidate, and are proud to reinforce our support for Dr. Phillies' candidacy.

Regarding Mr. Barr, we find that though he has shown some welcome evolution on the issues, he has a record that remains notably different from the other Libertarians in the race. Mr. Barr has not completed Outright's Candidate Survey, but is "on the record" regarding two issues key within the LGBT Libertarian community and the broader LGBT electoral base.

First, while we applaud the former Congressman's repudiation in the Wall Street Journal of the anti-gay military policy, and the evolution that this represents for Mr. Barr, his opinion on this issue simply moved into the Libertarian mainstream -- rather than pushing the debate forward. Every Libertarian candidate who has answered our survey -- plus Dr. Mary Ruwart (who has not yet answered our survey but is "on the record" on this issue) -- shares that view.

On the Defense of Marriage Act -- an odious law that Bob Barr co-sponsored as a Congressman -- his evolution has been far slower. We have discussed the law with him a number of times, and recently he has telegraphed support for repealing the half of the law that creates a federal definition of marriage. However, he has not consistently campaigned on this point, and seems reluctant to speak of it. An example of this reluctance may be heard at approximately 16:30 in the linked Atlanta radio interview with Mr. Barr.

In contrast, Democratic nomination candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has adopted a similar position, yet appears more willing to campaign upon it. Barack Obama has declared that he would repeal the law altogether.

Every Libertarian candidate who has completed our survey, as well as Dr. Ruwart, goes a major step further by calling for repeal of the law.

We believe that the difference between the Democratic and the Libertarian commitments on this issue is that while the two Democrats talk about doing something (despite a multi-year do-nothing record as Senators), Libertarians will fight from day one for us. We are not yet convinced that Mr. Barr would fight vigorously to promote his reluctantly-expressed position, a problem given that his position is the most statist of the serious Libertarian candidates in this race.

We welcome Bob Barr's engagement with the Libertarian Party, and are always delighted to welcome new Libertarians into the movement. We look forward to continuing to work with him as an LNC member or in any other role he takes within our Party. However, we must hold our presidential candidates to the highest possible standards, for the benefit of both our Party and LGBT Americans. In this regard, we believe that Bob Barr has quite a bit of work to do in order to enter the mainstream on LGBT issues in comparison to the other declared Libertarian candidates in this race. Just as many of us did when we first joined the LP, he needs to "steep in the brine of Liberty" for a while longer before running for nomination as our Party's standard-bearer.

Further, we note that regardless of who is nominated, the Libertarian Party will perform an invaluable service to the queer community in this election cycle -- even if the delegates ignore Outright's endorsement of George Phillies and instead choose Bob Barr as the Libertarian Party's nominee, the silver lining for the LGBT community will be that a Barr candidacy will almost certainly spoil any possible victory by John McCain.

In summary, recent news has only reinforced our commitment to Dr. George Phillies, and we encourage Outright members and supporters -- as well as all Libertarian Party convention delegates -- to support his candidacy in Denver with their votes, their ideas, and every other resource at their disposal.

About Outright: Outright Libertarians is the largest association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Libertarian Party supporters. With hundreds of members across the United States, it is the intellectual and policy hub of the LGBT libertarian movement, serving as the voice for LGBT Americans within the Libertarian Party as well as a voice for Libertarian candidates in the LGBT community. Its web site is http://www.outrightusa.org.