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Press Release

For Immediate Release
Monday, August 17, 2009

Libertarians press Congress on DOMA, ‘don’t’ ask, don’t tell’

Hate crimes bill opposed, cast as attempt by marriage opponents to buy LBGT votes

WASHINGTON -- America’s third largest party challenged House and Senate Democrats Monday to fully commit to the equal justice for gay and lesbian Americans by rejecting a proposed hate crimes law and repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy barring military service by “out” gays and lesbians.
 
“Libertarians are the only party committed to equal justice under the law, whether it is protection from violence, marriage equality or the ability of a qualified person to serve in the military,” said Cat Sumner, Libertarian National Committee gay and lesbian policy advisor.  “So-called ‘hate crimes’ bills further divide America by creating different classes of victims for the same crime.  Instead of dividing the gay and straight communities, we should be treating everyone equally.”
 
“This so-called ‘hate crimes’ bill is just an attempt by Democrat opponents of marriage equality to hold on to gay and lesbian support without actually fighting for them,” said Sumner.  “The Libertarian Party is the only party in America not afraid to engage in a no-compromise fight for a country where gays and lesbians can live their lives without government-sponsored harassment.  Libertarians challenge Congress to prove they are truly committed to equal justice for gays and lesbians by dropping so-called hate crimes legislation and instead repealing DOMA and ‘don't ask, don't tell.’”
 
Libertarians consider the hate crimes bill not just a violation of equal justice under the law, but an attempt by legislators to buy gay and lesbian support while still opposing gay marriage and military service.  The original sponsor of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, then-Republican Congressman Bob Barr (GA,) has recanted his support of the bill and is seeking its repeal.  He was the Libertarian presidential nominee in 2008, winning the party’s second-highest presidential vote total in its 38-year history.
 
The House passed a hate crimes bill, H.R. 1913, on Apr. 29.  On Jul 16. the Senate attached a hate crimes amendment to a military spending bill, both of which were approved.  The House bill and Senate amendment must be reconciled in committee before being sent to President Obama for his signature.
 
For more information on this issue, or to arrange an interview with the Libertarian Party, please call Director of Communications Donny Ferguson at 703-200-3669 (BlackBerry) or 202-333-0008, x. 225 (office,) or emailDonny.Ferguson@lp.org.
 
The Libertarian Party is America's third-largest political party, founded in 1971 as an alternative to the two main political parties.  You can find more information on the Libertarian Party by visiting http://www.LP.org. The Libertarian Party proudly stands for smaller government, lower taxes and more personal freedom.

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