Saturday, November 01, 2008

Brian Irving for North Carolina Senate 17

Outright Libertarians are proud to support Brian Irving for North Carolina Senate 17. His survey responses:

Outright Libertarians State & Local Candidate Survey

1) Since the early 1990s, Congressional legislation has blocked LGBTQ people from serving openly in the military. This discriminatory legislation, commonly referred to as Dont Ask, Dont 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. However, the governor of each state is a commander in chief of the National Guard for that state. Will you support efforts to ensure that LGBT people may serve openly in your state's National Guard?

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is a shame. Yes, LGBT people should be able to serve openly in the military. (Although as long as the Democratic-Republican duopoly perpetuates an imperialist foreign policy, I would not recommend it.) In my 25-years service, it did not make any difference if the person next time me was gay. I will support legislation to allow service in the NC National Guard. However, the Guard is also governed by Federal regulations, so I will work to change those regulations as well.

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 Constitutions full faith and credit clause and reject other states certification of same-sex relationships. Many states have also passed similar anti-LGBTQ legislation or even anti-LGBTQ constitutional amendments. Will you take steps to work to repeal state DOMAs (if they exist in your state) and implement equal treatment in marriage in your state?

The State has no business telling people who they can marry. Period. I will oppose a "gay marriage" amendment to the NC Constitution and work to repeal the state's DOMA.

3) LGBTQ people are subject to unequal tax treatment in a number of areas. For example, while opposite-sex married couples arent 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 arent charged to straight couples must be paid by LGBTQ couples. As a result, many LGBTQ couples will pay over five times the tax of a comparable straight couple over the life of their relationship. Will you take steps to eliminate any tax discrimination against LGBTQ people by your state/local government?

Yes. Of course, as a libertarian I would also work to repeal all these taxes.

4) The House and Senate are considering hate crime legislation that seeks to make attacks on LGBTQ people (as well as certain other minorities) more of a crime than a violent attack on a member of a majority class. Many states already have such legislation implemented on a state level. Will you lobby against and vote against such legislation?

"Hate crime" laws criminalize thought. I will oppose "hate crime" legislation for any group. I will also work to repeal laws making punishment for crimes against "government officials," including police officers, any more stringent than citizens. All people are equal before the law. "Hate crime" laws are just as destructive to individual rights as laws that discriminate against people based on sexual preference, race, religion, nationality or any other factor. The proper place to deal with "hate" is in determining the motive of a criminal.

5) The House and Senate are considering the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would regulate business and remove employers' and employees' First Amendment rights to freedom of association by banning private sector discrimination based on sexual orientation. Many states and municipalities already have similar laws on a local level. Will you vote against/veto those laws?

I will vote against any law that restricts the right of private employees to hire who they please. As a libertarian, I do not support "group rights." One individual has the same rights as 1,000 individuals -- no more, no less.

6) Often, the federal government and state governments use funding to compel compliance with certain discriminatory practices. For instance, one federal bill introduced into the last Congress would withhold some federal education funds for states that refuse to embrace an anti-LGBTQ mandatory educational curriculum. Will you pledge to refuse to implement anti-LGBTQ federal and state mandates even if that opposition would result in reduced funds from federal or state government coming to your constituency?

Absolutely. The U.S. Constitution does not give the Federal government the power or authority for education. As a State Senator, I will oppose any Federal mandates in this, or any other area.

7) 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. Will you take steps to ensure that LGBT individuals and families will have the right to buy the insurance they decide they want, rather than the insurance that bureaucrats mandate they "need?"

The Federal government has no authority to mandate health care or regulate insurance. The state government has proven it is incompetent in both area. For a libertarian, the bottom line is that private businesses, including health care providers and insurance companies, have the right to sell their services to whoever they please. Removing government interference will encourage health care providers and insurers to offer services to meet the needs of LGBTQ people.

8) As an elected official, you will be the chief executive of your own staff, with tremendous decision-making power over general employment policy in your office. Will you take steps to ensure that your LGBTQ government employees (if any) are treated equally to straight employees in the provision of health care benefits and other conditions related to employment?

If I form a staff, I will chose people based on their ability, and how well I can get along with them personally, and on no other criteria. And I will treat all equally. And if I form a staff, I won't offer health care benefits, or any other perks, at all, nor will I pay them much. My efforts will be to repeal laws and oppose expansion of government power.

9) 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 an elected official, 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 by opposing *all* legislation or regulation that restricts the right to keep and bear firearms?

Absolutely. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is essential to the safety and security of the Republic. I will oppose any and all regulation or restrictions on that right.

10) LGBTQ parents – especially adoptive parents – often find difficulty in traveling across the country due to anti-LGBTQ 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 Constitutions full faith and credit clause that requires states to recognize other states certifications and legal status. As an elected official, will you take steps to eliminate discriminatory legislation or policies that could undermine the parental status of LGBT parents in your jurisdiction?

Yes. The full faith and credit clause was written specifically so that citizens of one state where treated equally no matter where they traveled in the United States. Like many other guarantees in the U.S. Constitution, it has not been enforced infrequently and more often ignored. As a State Senator, I will work to insure North Carolina gives "full faith and credit" to the laws of the other 49 states, and work with our Congressional delegation to convince other states do the same for North Carolinians, and that the Federal government enforces this guarantee.

11) Do you have any other comments or statements that youd like to make to the LGBTQ community?

A personal note: My brother is gay and has been living with his partner for more than 20 years. I also have a gay nephew. I am also a Christian, and so believe all people are created in the image of God, and should be treated with equal respect. I recall a 60s slogan: God doesn't make junk!

Just as I will oppose any laws that treat people differently because of their sexual preference, I will also oppose laws that give individuals or groups special treatment. I will defend the right of LGBTQ people to live your lives as you choose, so long as they do not use force, the threat of force, or fraud to violate the rights of others. With equal intensity, I will also defend the right of people who hold opposing religious or moral beliefs to live as they choose, and express their views -- so long as they do not use force, the threat of force, or fraud to impose those beliefs on you.