Marriage equality one step toward ending discrimination
While supporting steps taken over the past several years to end the unequal treatment of gays in the area of marriage, Libertarians say a just society is one in which no law depends on one's sexual identity.
"Permitting couples to marry when they are of the same gender is a step in the direction of equality before the law, but a truly free society would not have government in the business of defining relationships at all," said Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle. "Frankly, the idea that someone's legal rights should depend on whether they've entered a government-approved relationship ought to be repugnant to all of us. The Libertarian Party opposed the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) while it was being passed overwhelmingly in 1996 by a Republican Congress and signed into law by Democrat Bill Clinton, and has consistently called for its repeal in the intervening 15 years. Because of DOMA, even same-sex couples married in states that permit it face higher federal income taxes, gift and estate taxes and immigration restrictions than opposite-sex couples, and can have their marriages effectively nullified by another state if they move to it.
"Marriage equality is not enough, however. I've heard some people express concern that allowing gay marriage would send us down a slippery slope. I hope it does. We should settle for nothing less than a society in which the legal code is wiped clean of references to a person's sexual identity or depends on how many sexual partners they have. It is disgraceful that we grant government officials the power to even examine such things, let alone criminalize any peaceful conduct between consenting adults, or punish them with unequal marriage, adoption, tax, or immigration laws."
Just as Stonewall Democrats and Log Cabin Republicans have represented LGBTQ members of those parties, Outright Libertarians (OL) represents LGTBQ members of the Libertarian Party, but with a big difference. "Our focus is on outreach to non-Libertarians," notes former LP National Treasurer and current OL president James Oaksun. "Full equality before the law is already the consensus position among Libertarians, and has been so since the party was founded. And the party's platform has always embraced full equality before the law. The strength of the LP's commitment to full equality is a great advantage for the party in the LGBT community."
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Wes Benedict is executive director of the Libertarian Party.