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Libertarians say marriage equality only one step toward ending legal discrimination

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June 10, 2011

Contact: Wes Benedict, Executive Director
Phone: 202-333-0008 ext. 222

Libertarians say marriage equality only one step toward ending legal discrimination

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.

About Post Author

Jill Pyeatt

Jill Pyeatt is a small-business owner and jewelry designer from Southern California. She currently serves on the Judicial Committee of the Libertarian Party of CA. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Eddie Eddie June 11, 2011

    As a Green, I attended a Republican meeting this Tuesday, and I cannot believe they are so anti-gay marriage. No wonder their base seems to be shrinking.

  2. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt Post author | June 11, 2011

    It’s time for everyone to lighten up, and stop trying to tell others how to live their lives. It’s really that simple.

  3. Less Antman Less Antman June 11, 2011

    @2 Agreed, but I’ve seen people argue that this standard supports both sides of the debate on whether to allow same sex marriage. 😉

    My view, which also appears to be the consensus in the party based on the platform and this release, is that a law which permits opposite sex couples to get tax relief should be extended to same sex couples. Refusing to cut taxes on same sex couples on the grounds that the actual goal of libertarians is tax abolition strikes me as hard to defend on libertarian grounds.

    Of course, we’d all prefer there be no special category under law called “married,” which I think Mark is saying in calling for the removal of all differences in legal treatment based on sexual identity or “government-approved relationships.” Still, we oppose licensing laws, but also call for the removal of rules that prevent certain categories of people from obtaining those licenses as long as they are required. Seems consistent to me.

  4. Less Antman Less Antman June 11, 2011

    Also interesting to note that, while the current spartan LP platform is normally limited to policy matters, the platform excerpt at the bottom of the release explicitly states, “We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant.”

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