Libertarians say marriage equality only one step toward ending legal discrimination

For Immediate Release Friday, June 10, 2011

WASHINGTON – 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 LP 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.”

Hinkle continued, “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 LP, 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.”

The Libertarian Party platform includes the following:

“1.3 Personal Relationships
Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.”

“3.5 Rights and Discrimination
We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should not deny or abridge any individual’s rights based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs.”

For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.

For information about Outright Libertarians, visit their website .

The LP is America’s third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets, civil liberties, and peace. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website .