Libertarians: Pro-family means pro-freedom

The newest release from the Center for Libertarian Press Information.

As the struggle against marriage apartheid took center stage in New York this weekend, Libertarians lauded the progress America has made in the last year — and urged the federal government to roll back legal barriers blocking full recognition of same-sex marriage.

17 thoughts on “Libertarians: Pro-family means pro-freedom

  1. robert capozzi

    well done. My only critique would be to mention positively civil unions/domestic partnerships as legal — and potentially optimal –arrangements. Separation of marriage and state is a winning theme, IMO.

  2. Steve

    Congratulations, “radical” and “principled” Libertarians, after years of criticizing paleo-libertarian Ron Paul, you are now officially less libertarian than his organization:

    Instead of arguing for the separation of marriage and state, as the CFL points out and should be the proper libertarian position, you argue for expanding the numbers of people who receive government privileges granted to them on the basis of their lifestyle choice (by which I mean married, not gay).

    We need freedom of contract for all, government licensing for none.

  3. Susan Hogarth

    “government privileges granted to them on the basis of their lifestyle choice”

    You mean privileges like being able to make critical care decisions for your chosen partner in hospitals?

  4. Jim Davidson

    @4 Isn’t there a thing called “durable power of attorney” that provides for such decision making or choice taking behavior?

    Marriage as a way of making pretend that two people are actually one does seem a bit silly. Having the state encumbered is always good, though, and an encumbrance like “the wife cannot be compelled to testify against the husband because they are one person in the eyes of the law” seems like a good one.

  5. Thomas L. Knapp


    You write:

    “the proper libertarian position”

    … as if there was only one “proper libertarian position” on any given issue.

    Beg to differ.

    Extricating government from marriage entirely is, indeed, a libertarian position (and in my view, the most desirable end state).

    Requiring government, while it remains entangled in marriage, to refrain from violating the rights of those who are affected by that entanglement is also a libertarian position.

    It does not follow from the fact that CLiPr put out a release advocating for one libertarian policy position that CLiPr (or the LP, which CLiPr attempts to represent) therefore rejects other libertarian policy positions.

    That’s not to say that CFL isn’t “more libertarian” than CLiPr or the LP, but that’s a bigger argument, either. If CFL’s position is as you describe it, then it’s certainly “more libertarian” on the issue of marriage than its founder, author of the “Marriage Protection Act,” is.

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    Not sure how I left that vestigial “either” in the last comment (it was part of a sentence I thought I deleted in its entirety). Sorry about that.

  7. Bryan

    Eliminating the government control of marriage is, and should, be a Libertarian goal. But it is a long-term goal, and therefore one which should be looked at in a theoretical way. Prop 8 and other equality referendums, bills, laws, etc… are things which can be put in place immediately…bringing an end to the discriminatory actions of our government.

    Getting rid of today’s “marriage” laws will take decades to accomplish (if ever). And knowing this, it makes sense that the C4L would be against Prop 8 and other equality laws. In SC C4L is dominated by republicans. Even if they are small “l” republicans, they have no problem supporting actions which discriminate in the short term, while knowing their “principled” stance on the question will not be an issue in their lifetime.

  8. Mik Robertson

    Didn’t the LP put out a press release on this topic in April? It started out like this:

    Libertarians applaud steps toward marriage equality

    America’s third largest party wants government out of marriage entirely

  9. Bryan

    Hit the submit button a little quick.

    I agree with the LP, and now Center for Libertarian Press Information. (Don’t always agree with the “Center”, but on this one you got my vote 😉

  10. Robert Capozzi

    bryan: The future, the ultimate goal is fine, but when this stand allows the continued discrimination against a particular group

    me: ah, the $64,000 question. Ultimate goals are fine, and I’d suggest couching them in general terms. near term goals should be couched in specific terms.

    that is, IF we want to be relevant, which seems implicit in politics, which IS the art of the possible.

  11. Steve

    One thing your leaving out in the “ultimate goal” discussion is that the California Supreme Court in their decision to allow gay marriages, did in fact consider the possibility of eliminating all state licensing of marriage but unfortunately rejected it. So that indicates that it is theoretically possible to at minimum, inject that idea into the debate.

    My concern is that by expanding the state definition of marriage, we are expanding the powers of the state, in particular the 1,100 or so government benefits to married couples that gay rights activists claim they should be entitled to. On what other issue would we claim “oh, we’ll support expanding it now with the ultimate goal of eliminating it”? I’m sure most of these are benign, hospital visitation and the like, but certain others of them impose a real cost that is shifted from married couples onto the backs of the single, divorced, widowed, celibate, and asexual communities. It’s like all the people saying “where’s my bailout?” during the TARP debate – they had a point, but the libertarian position shouldn’t be that corporate welfare is acceptable if every corporation gets some just as it shouldn’t be our message that marriage welfare is acceptable if every couple gets it. Or should the near-term goal of the LP be “bailouts for all”?

    As for the CFL itself, its not me claiming that’s their position, this was the featured article on the top of their website. And while in every organization there is a certain amount of room for honest disagreement, if CFL’s founder didn’t agree with what was said on his website, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t allow it to be posted front and center.

  12. Robert Capozzi

    steve, interesting point. yes, it IS a trade-off.

    I’m not certain whether domestic partnerships/civil unions avoid the same problem or not.

    This is yet another gray area, one that suggests that simplistic bumper-sticker approaches come up wanting, IMO.

  13. Bryan


    I think our “disagreement” is the weight we put on each of the big 3, Smaller Government, Lower Taxes, and Individual Freedom.

    While I am curious how many of the 1100 benefits given married couples cost $, I can see many of them that are “free”. For example, hospital visitation, making medical decisions for an incapacitated spouse, entering into contracts as “partners”, along with those mentioned in the CLiPr post, immigration differences and the right for same-sex couples to have their marriage recognized in other states.

    The irony is that it costs money to disallow same sex marriage as well. There are hundreds if not thousands of children in government “foster care” and/or institutions, which could be adopted into a home, if the state allowed gay adoption… Currently one member of a gay couple can go bankrupt, with no effect on his/her partner’s credit or financial condition…

    There are obligations and disincentives to “marriage”as well. In the not too distant past, many married seniors were getting divorced in order to take advantage of the increased benefits that single people received.

    Many of the benefits that married people get are “perks” that I am against anyway. I don’t like the inheritance tax, gift tax, etc… It really pisses me off, thinking that upon my death, the people in my will, will be taxed on property and money that I have already paid taxes on.

    In the end, I agree with the LP platform and the LP and CLiPr posts. I just don’t see how I can deny same-sex couples the rights others take as given, simply because I don’t want to see a few more people get benefits that I, as a single male, don’t receive.

  14. Robert Capozzi

    bryan, it seems unlikely that the direct “costs” of denying same-gender marriage swamp the costs of allowing it. Yet, the INDIRECT costs are rather large.

    then, of course, we have the challenge of the polygamy issue.

    Since Ls are engaged in the game of POLITICS, positioning is a consideration, I’d suggest. Same-gender marriage/civil union/domestic partnership hurts no one unto itself, so the bias should be for it. But, yes, there are technicalities that should be considered. Agreeing with BOTH the LP and CLiPr posts is easy. Agreeing that either has advantages and disadvantages is hard for the dualistically minded — the b/w crowd.

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