Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Where Was The Libertarian Party?

In Activism, Civil Liberties, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Democracy, Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Medical Marijuana, People in the news, Politics, Republican, US Government on November 25, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Election Day 2009 has come and gone. Relatively speaking, this election was as insignificant as any off-year election is, as opposed to a mid-term election, but it still could have been an important year for the Libertarian Party, if we had simply bothered to show up. There were six elections / ballot initiatives which could have possibly been affected by the Libertarian Party… if we actually had a long-term strategic plan. As it is, some things happened for which it is notable that the LP had no role in. In no particular order, let’s look at where we could have had real impacts this year.

Governor’s Race – New Jersey: New Jersey voters tossed out their incumbent Democratic Governor, Corizine, in favor of Republican Chris Christie. It may have happened because Corizine is very unpopular with the citizens of his government-corruption prone state .While Christie’s election is not necessarily a bad thing, what made this election notable was that it swung on independent voters. Christie won 49% of the vote, Corizine won 44% and independent candidate Chris Dagget walked away with 5% of the vote.

Governor’s Race – Virginia: Republican candidate, Bob McConnell, with 60% of the vote, easily won election over his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds. For over 35 years, Virginians have consistently voted into office Governors of the opposition party to that of a sitting President, so this win might have seemed inevitable. What made this race notable for the LP is that it was again the independent voters who made the difference. In 2008, Virginia bucked its own tradition of voting for Republican presidential candidates and, instead, voted for Democratic candidate Obama. In that case, Obama won because Virginia’s independent voters were pretty evenly split between Obama and McCain. This year, however, independent voters were 2 – 1 in favor of McConnell and we can see the results from that quite easily.

Mayor’s Race – New York: In this race, Independent candidate Michael Bloomberg won a very narrow victory against his Democratic opponent, the essentially unknown City Comptroller. The name of the Democratic candidate is not important. What is important is that even with spending approximately $100,000,000 (yes, 100 million) dollars of his own money, Bloomberg only won 51% of the total vote, only 5 points ahead of his Democratic opponent. This will be Bloomberg’s third term, which was only possible because he supported changes to New York City’s term limit law, which had limited mayors to only being able to be elected for two terms. A strong Libertarian presence could have raised the term-limit issue by speaking strongly for them.

House of Representatives Race – New York’s 23rd District: What can be said here that hasn’t already been said? In what was probably the most noteworthy race of 2009? For the first time in over 150 years, this district will not be represented by a Republican. The story is remarkable. The Republican Party chose Dede Scozzafava, an NRA-approved candidate who also was pro-choice and in favor of same-sex marriage. The Democratic Party chose an un-noteworthy sacrificial lamb, Bill Owens, because the New York state House has a one person majority and they didn’t want to risk losing that majority by running their state Representative in an “unwinnable” race. So what happened? The far-right stepped in and ran their own Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman, against Scozzafava. Why? Because she wasn’t conservative enough to satisfy far-right extremists, like Sarah Palin and Dick Armey. I think that this race was probably the most important this year because for what it signifies. The extreme far-right conservatives are not interested in Republican Party loyalty, they put political ideology above all else. Hoffman had no knowledge of or concern for “his” district’s local issues, he didn’t even live in that district In a move reminiscent of the worst examples of the “rotten boroughs” in British politics before the 20th century, the national leaders in the far-right conservative movement found someone whose only “qualification” was the purity of his ideology. Don’t worry though, if Hoffman HAD won, he promised that he would move into the District he would then be representing. Scozzafava eventually pulled out of the race and put her support behind the Democratic candidate. The extreme conservatives didn’t simply put their own candidate in a roll to beat the Republican candidate; they chased a loyal Republican out of the Republican Party, itself. In the end, enough loyal Republicans still voted for her that Conservative Hoffman lost. The final tally? 49% to 45% to 6%. I told you, folks… they’re eating their own.

This race, more than any other, demonstrates the collectivist desires of the extreme far-right conservatives… Local issues are not important to them; they want nothing less than to fill Congress with extreme conservative political ideologues who will put the desires of the conservative movement above every other consideration. Ideological purity is their litmus test, and having elected officials who will do the bidding of political masters instead of serving the needs of their constituents is a model for a one-party state with a collectivist government. We have seen such systems before and, trust me; their loyalty is NOT to their constituents… it is to their party. The far-right conservative extremist movement is trying to lead America down a very dangerous road.

In addition to these for elections, there were two ballot initiates that need to also be included in our summary. The first of these was the vote to overturn the law which passed the Maine legislature that made same-sex marriage legal in Maine. Drawing an immense amount of support from OUTSIDE the state, the conservatives managed to overturn that law by garnering 53% of the public vote to repeal it. The other ballot initiative we need to make note of was the approval in Breckenridge, Colorado of a law which decriminalizes all personal possession of one-ounce or less of marijuana. State and federal laws are still in place but for the first time, a city has stood up and said “it isn’t worth the government fighting to enforce those laws”. And who was responsible for this victory? If you said the Libertarian Party, you would be completely wrong. The organization that was responsible for getting 71% of the voters to approve that law was the modestly named ‘Sensible Colorado’… 71 freaking percent of the voters approved this and the LP had no hand in (and, thus, get no credit for) this win. Both of these initiatives were about personal freedom, personal MORAL freedom. If we, as Libertarians, are not the ones who can stand up for the side of freedom, then who the hell needs us?

So, what lessons should the LP learn from these elections? A couple of things. One is that being an extreme far-right, conservative neo-Republican party will not win for us. Those people are not disaffected, they are simply scared. They have their own machine and we would simply get swallowed entirely by them… and good-bye to the Libertarian Party. Another lesson is that independents really do matter. They might not be enough to win an election on their own, but that can certainly swing an election. In these elections we can all see the importance of a liberal movement. If we can mobilize it, we can win. The moderates, independents and liberals who turned out in numbers sufficient to elect Obama last year are the unmotivated and disaffected pool of voters we can turn to. There is power there, strength that is simply waiting to be utilized.

The Republicans are feeling elated about winning the two governor’s races this year. They are patting themselves on the back by seeing importance on the wrong victories. While governors might be the Chief Executives in their state, they have no role in formulating national legislation. The two House elections this year, both of which were won by the Democratic candidates, are much more significant in the larger picture of current American politics. What this says about the 2010 election possibilities is fascinating.

Candidates in reliable Republican districts will now be facing primary challenges from the far-right if they are not seen as being ideologically pure enough. Why is that important? Remember center-left Republican Senator Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island? He had to spend most of what he had in his campaign war chest to beat a far-right Republican opponent for the Party’s nomination. After the primary fight, he didn’t have enough money left to effectively campaign for the Senate seat, itself, and he lost to the Democratic nominee. We can look for more of this in 2010 as big money from national figures fighting for their far-right agenda will flood into the coffers of Republican candidates who aren’t seen as being conservatively pure. Any primaries in which the far-right challenger looses will leave the winner with little or no money to campaign for the actual seat or office in question.

Since Obama’s election a year ago, he has turned this country’s very active liberal base into an unmotivated “lost generation” looking for someone to give them hope. THAT is where our future lies. WE need to be the ones who can break the American liberals out of their ennui, to rally and mobilized the untapped political power they represent. THEY are the people who can make or break elections. Those people are looking for leadership and hope. Now is the time to bring back Ed Clark’s Libertarian movement. Now is when we need his “low-tax liberals” to rise up again and take the Libertarian Party back from the neo-Republicans. In every one of the elections I have mentioned here, WE could have made a difference, we could have made ourselves known again to the general public, we could have been leaders… and, to be politically viable, our future rest with being able to harness the unfocused liberalism which Obama has let wither away. The conservative extremists are destroying the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is showing itself to be incapable of leadership. There are holes being torn in American politics and, as nature abhors a vacuum, those holes WILL be filled. What we have to ask ourselves is, can we the party that fills those holes?

Since 1984, the LP has driven itself to an extreme end of the American political spectrum, an end that is mostly allied with the extreme far-right. That is not what first attracted the general public to the idea of libertarianism. It was the combination of the ideas of fiscal responsibility AND liberal social policies that first put the LP on the lips of the American people. Both the Republicans and the Democrats parties are moving farther and deeper into their own ideological extremes. I believe that any two-party system is going to naturally gravitate between polar opposites. The reason that it is important for America to also have a centrist party is because there needs to be a party that can comfortably welcome people from the right, left and middle. What makes the Libertarian party important is not conservative or liberal politics; it is our view of the role and function of government. What we oppose is authoritarianism. Personally, I am pretty far to the left while the political figure I know and admire the most is pretty far to the right; I believe that some government is necessary and she is an anarchist. Where we find commonality is our shared belief that neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party are serving the American people. THAT is why we both share a belief in libertarian philosophy, and the day that we can get both my moderate right Republican father and my independent green (liberal AND vegetarian) sister to vote for our candidates is the day that we will know that we have arrived.

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

“Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all, Honor”

© Copyright 2009 by Rhys M. Blavier

Mike Says: Join Marriage Forward

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Politics on November 12, 2008 at 12:21 am

Hello LFV,

This election cycle brought about a failure in marriage initiatives across the country to legalize same-sex marriages. The people of the several states did go out of their way to define it as a man and a woman, though.
In California, it was banned with 52% of the vote.
In Arizona, 56% of the vote.
In Florida, 62% of the vote.
(Source: USA Today)

One thing that gay rights supporters did learn across the country is that the opposition is well-funded, well-operated, and uses mob-like tactics (threatening to label businesses as “pro-gay” if they didn’t donate to them). On our side, we do what we can, but it’s nowhere near as organized as the anti-gay marriage crowd.

I, in my naivety, underestimated the overall public opinion towards marriage equality. We still have work to do until more than two states allow gay marriages. What will ensue now is a campaign of education, as it seems we start from scratch.

I recently found this site, marriageforward.com. It’s stated as:

“The Civil Marriage Alliance is a new grassroots organization devoted to achieving civil marriage equality by aggressively reaching out not only to gay people, but to all people.”

This is different then other gay organizations that align with parties, such as Outright Libertarians (which I’m a part of). This group is out to unite all people, gay or straight, behind the cause of equality.

The five-point plan is the back-drop of the campaign:

1 . A greater focus on including straight allies in the fight for civil marriage equality.

2. Increased emphasis on engaging minority and underserved communities on gay rights issues.

3. Better utilization of new media to build a national network of people—gay and straight—who can present a show-of-force on gay rights issues simply by virtue of standing up and being counted.

4. A national public education campaign designed to preemptively guard against misinformation campaigns like the one launched against gays in California’s Proposition 8 campaign.

5. An effort to jumpstart a national conversation about the civil nature of marriage.

To Libertarians: This isn’t the “get the government out of the marriage argument” that I myself support, but it’s a start.

To learn more about the five planks, go to marriageforward.com
Sign up there for future updates and to help us gain strength in numbers.

Thanks for reading,
-Mike

Outright Libertarians statement on Barr candidacy

In Candidate Endorsement, George Phillies, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates on May 14, 2008 at 9:21 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Outright Libertarians Executive Committee Comments on Bob Barr’s Declaration of Candidacy for the Libertarian Nomination

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO, SEATTLE, KNOXVILLE, PHILADELPHIA and ATLANTAThis Monday, former Congressman (and recent LNC committee member) Bob Barr announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Nomination for President of the United States.

Many of you are wondering where Outright Libertarians stands on this recent development, and the short answer is this: our position has not changed.

We continue to strongly support Dr. George Phillies as our endorsed candidate. Dr. Phillies has shown the courage, character and commitment that Outright’s membership seeks in a presidential nominee. A longtime Libertarian activist and longtime supporter of equality under the law for all people (including LGBT Americans), Dr. Phillies has established an enviable record of achievement in the fight for liberty.

His platform includes uncompromising support for the rights of LGBT Americans in military service, marriage, immigration, adoption, and tax treatment. He has been an implacable foe of the Defense of Marriage Act and the military’s anti-gay recruitment policy since their inception. Most importantly, he has led important initiatives to fight for us everyday, while bringing the message of the Libertarian Party to LGBT people. We can think of no finer candidate, and are proud to reinforce our support for Dr. Phillies’ candidacy.

Regarding Mr. Barr, we find that though he has shown some welcome evolution on the issues, he has a record that remains notably different from the other Libertarians in the race. Mr. Barr has not completed Outright’s Candidate Survey, but is “on the record” regarding two issues key within the LGBT Libertarian community and the broader LGBT electoral base.

First, while we applaud the former Congressman’s repudiation of the anti-gay military policy that he drafted for the Wall Street Journal, and the evolution that this represents for Mr. Barr, his opinion on this issue simply moved into the Libertarian mainstream — rather than pushing the debate forward. Every Libertarian candidate who has answered our survey — plus Dr. Mary Ruwart (who has not yet answered our survey but is “on the record” on this issue) — shares that view.

On the Defense of Marriage Act — an odious law that Bob Barr co-sponsored as a Congressman — his evolution has been far slower. We have discussed the law with him a number of times, and recently he has telegraphed support for repealing the half of the law that creates a federal definition of marriage. However, he has not consistently campaigned on this point, and seems reluctant to speak of it. (An example of this reluctance may be heard at approximately 16:30 in this linked Atlanta radio interview with Mr. Barr:  http://media.podcastingmanager.com/81570-71406/Media/CFL-20080420-S3-S4.mp3 )

In contrast, Democratic nomination candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has adopted a similar position, yet appears more willing to campaign upon it. Barack Obama has declared that he would repeal the law altogether.

Every Libertarian candidate who has completed our survey, as well as Dr. Ruwart, goes a major step further by calling for repeal of the law.

We believe that the difference between the Democratic and the Libertarian commitments on this issue is that while the two Democrats talk about doing something (despite a multi-year do-nothing record as Senators), Libertarians will fight from day one for us. We are not yet convinced that Mr. Barr would fight vigorously to promote his reluctantly-expressed position, a problem given that his position is the most statist of the serious Libertarian candidates in this race.

We welcome Bob Barr’s engagement with the Libertarian Party, and are always delighted to welcome new Libertarians into the movement. We look forward to continuing to work with him as an LNC member or in any other role he takes within our Party. However, we must hold our presidential candidates to the highest possible standards, for the benefit of both our Party and LGBT Americans. In this regard, we believe that Bob Barr has quite a bit of work to do in order to enter the mainstream on LGBT issues in comparison to the other declared Libertarian candidates in this race. Just as many of us did when we first joined the LP, he needs to “steep in the brine of Liberty” for a while longer before running for nomination as our Party’s standard-bearer.

Further, we note that regardless of who is nominated, the Libertarian Party will perform an invaluable service to the queer community in this election cycle — even if the delegates ignore Outright’s endorsement of George Phillies and instead choose Bob Barr as the Libertarian Party’s nominee, the silver lining for the LGBT community will be that a Barr candidacy will almost certainly spoil any possible victory by John McCain.

In summary, recent news has only reinforced our commitment to Dr. George Phillies, and we encourage Outright members and supporters — as well as all Libertarian Party convention delegates — to support his candidacy in Denver with their votes, their ideas, and every other resource at their disposal.

About Outright: Outright Libertarians is the largest association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Libertarian Party supporters. With hundreds of members across the United States, it is the intellectual and policy hub of the LGBT libertarian movement, serving as the voice for LGBT Americans within the Libertarian Party as well as a voice for Libertarian candidates in the LGBT community. Its web site is http://www.outrightusa.org.

Transgender male meets discrimination due to pregnancy

In Activism, Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Health on April 2, 2008 at 3:13 pm

I was always under the impression that the transgendered had to undergo sex-reassignment surgery before they could be legally recognized as the opposite sex. However, The Advocate reports that a transgender man has become pregnant though he is legally recognized as a male, looks to the rest of the world to be male, and has legally married a female. It is reported that he changed everything else to effectuate the female-to-male change, but kept his female reproductive organs intact.  Obviously, I was misinformed.

I looked around at some followups to this story, which just broke a few days ago (March 26th), to get an idea of the reaction. Even many in the transgender community are opposed to the pregnancy, on the basis that they don’t think he can claim to be male under those circumstances; others believe he should not continue to be a man if he has chosen pregnancy, because it causes negative attention toward other transgender males. The general public …. well, I don’t think I need to tell you what the public is saying, but suffice it to say that many if not most people are completely against it. Many are refusing to recognize him as male, since he has made this decision. Many are invoking God into this situation. I expect the public outcry to grow larger and louder, as the story makes it more and more into the mainstream.

Below is an excerpt of the original story from the viewpoint of the man himself, and the problems he has encountered as a result of his decision to bear a child.

While this is admittedly unusual, reproduction is undeniably a basic human right. That being the case, libertarians must fully support this man’s decision to bear a child. Our support is important, because what I suspect will happen is that the government will take ten steps backward, and start enacting discriminatory laws against the transgendered as a result of the hysteria which will undoubtedly occur, and which has already begun.

Libertarians must be the voice of reason in this situation because – since most libertarians are heterosexual and in conventional relationships, and because we have always advocated the right of everyone to live as they choose without government interference – we cannot be logically accused of bias for or against the LGBT community.

Labor of Love

To our neighbors, my wife, Nancy, and I don’t appear in the least unusual. To those in the quiet Oregon community where we live, we are viewed just as we are — a happy couple deeply in love. Our desire to work hard, buy our first home, and start a family was nothing out of the ordinary. That is, until we decided that I would carry our child.

I am transgender, legally male, and legally married to Nancy. Unlike those in same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships, or civil unions, Nancy and I are afforded the more than 1,100 federal rights of marriage. Sterilization is not a requirement for sex reassignment, so I decided to have chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy but kept my reproductive rights. Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire.

Ten years ago, when Nancy and I became a couple, the idea of us having a child was more dream than plan. I always wanted to have children. However, due to severe endometriosis 20 years ago, Nancy had to undergo a hysterectomy and is unable to carry a child. But after the success of our custom screen-printing business and a move from Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest two years ago, the timing finally seemed right. I stopped taking my bimonthly testosterone injections. It had been roughly eight years since I had my last menstrual cycle, so this wasn’t a decision that I took lightly. My body regulated itself after about four months, and I didn’t have to take any exogenous estrogen, progesterone, or fertility drugs to aid my pregnancy.

Our situation sparks legal, political, and social unknowns. We have only begun experiencing opposition from people who are upset by our situation. Doctors have discriminated against us, turning us away due to their religious beliefs. Health care professionals have refused to call me by a male pronoun or recognize Nancy as my wife. Receptionists have laughed at us. Friends and family have been unsupportive; most of Nancy’s family doesn’t even know I’m transgender.

You can read the rest of this incredible article on The Advocate.