Gary Johnson on Obama's Gay Marriage Remarks: "I guess the President is still more worried about losing Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia than he is in doing the right thing"

Libertarian Party Nominee Gary Johnson released a statement this morning responding to remarks President Barack Obama made yesterday about gay marriage:

Libertarian nominee for President and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson today said he’s "disappointed" with President Obama’s position on gay marriage. Obama told ABC Wednesday he would let each individual state decide the gay marriage question instead of seeking federal protection of the right to marry. Johnson noted that more than 30 states already ban  same sex marriage in one way or another. In a statement, Johnson said, "Instead of insisting on equality as a US Constitutional guarantee, the President has thrown this question back to the states. When the smoke clears, Gay Americans will realize the President's words have gained them nothing today and that millions of Americans in most states will continue to be denied true marriage equality . I guess the President is still more worried about losing Ohio, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia than he is in doing the right thing. What is the President saying--that he would eat a piece of cake at a gay wedding if the state the happy couple lives in allows it ?. Where is the leadership? While I commend him for supporting the concept of Gay marriage equality, I am profoundly disappointed in the President."

Johnson, once a long-time supporter of civil unions, has also "evolved" on the gay marriage question. 

"As I have examined this issue, consulted with folks on all sides, and viewed it through the lens of individual freedom and equal rights," he said in December 2011, "it has become clear to me that denying those rights and benefits to gay couples is discrimination, plain and simple." 

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  • Pro Libertate||

    Exactly. As much as the media and leftie blogs are trumpeting Obama's solemn pronouncement as significant, it was not only meaningless, it actually meant the reverse of what he wanted some people to believe it meant. If the states want to deprive you of your right to associate how you see fit, tough shit. Oh, and now federalism is good and not an evil racist conspiracy?

    I'm appalled, though not very surprised, at how hard Obama is trying to make the election entirely about a mostly artificial culture war. I think even many Democrats are thinking, "Hey, what about, um, the economy? Could you throw us a bone here?"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Do you think the Dems would benefit from an election focused on the economy?

    If I were a Dem, I would be considering the possibility of losing in November, and would be pre-emptively seeking some self-esteem-nurturing excuse for defeat, such as "we lost because of our courageous defense of fundamental human rights, etc."

  • Pro Libertate||

    They could start addressing the economy right now, instead of shouting, "Look, over there!" Ignoring it is such an obvious statement about the administration and the party being totally lost on economic issues that I think it can backfire tremendously, even with some Democratic voters.

  • R C Dean||

    Johnson has evolved beyond me on this issue. I think this is a state-level issue under the Constitution, with some interesting/difficult full faith and credit questions.

    I still think the "equal protection" argument that he seems to have adopted is an exercise in question-begging (or assuming your conclusion, take your pick) that asserts that the "real" meaning of marriage is "between two consenting adults" rather than "between a man and a woman".

    Of course, this is a sideshow issue that is vanishingly trivial in the scheme of things, so, meh to both of them.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I tend to agree. The whole debate was intended to be a political one in the first place, as civil unions were solving the actual problem.

    And, as usual, the issue is an artificial one to begin with, as it stems from government intervention in something it has no business intervening in. Like any valid contract, the government should simply recognize the validity of agreed-upon marriages, when necessary, and otherwise stay the hell out.

  • R C Dean||

    God-Governor Dean would strike existing marriage laws from the books, and replace it with a law creating a standard civil union contract that parties must sign to have a legally recognized civil union, and can vary in any way they want.

    God-Governor Dean's apathy/tolerance on this issue is so vast that it wouldn't be limited only to pairs of people, either.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What's interesting to me is how blind people are to the fact that all this is about is line-drawing. Few gay marriage advocates, thumping their chests about how people who love each other should be free, free, and freer, are also advocating the same freedom for multiple partners, people who want to marry close relations, people who want to marry minors, or people who want to marry barnyard animals. Not to mention aliens, robots, and corporations.

    As long as marriage is regulated, we're going to be drawing the line somewhere.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    God-Governor Dean for President!

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I agree with all of the above.

    I don't know what I think about:

    1) Immigration. Does everybody get a once in a lifetime Invite to send out to any foreigner? Why should people who don't ever want to get married receive less "equal protection" than those who do, regardless of the definition of marriage, when it comes to importing new voters into our Mobocracy? And whatever the solution is, it can't violate the rule that "If it's legal to do something for free, it's OK to do it for money".

    b) Not testifying against your spouse. Can a bunch of people sign contracts right before a trial and then declare themselves to be a big blob of straight/gay/bi/polygamist married folks? I think I'm pretty much against all compelled testimony anyways, so I'm ok with that, but I'm sure most will disagree.

  • Proprietist||

    I disagree. Marriage is extremely important when it comes to certain federal responsibilities like immigration. Immigration, for example, has nothing to do with which state you are going to move to, so the federal government still has to determine whether gay marriage is legitimate or illegitimate.

    I think the federal government has to recognize married gays for their purposes, not that the states necessarily have to reciprocate.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The federal government can recognize marriages based on state law. They do that sort of thing in other areas.

  • Proprietist||

    Immigration by marriage often has nothing to do with state law. If you get married in a foreign country that has legal gay marriage, you still can't immigrate.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Even if you migrate to a state with legal gay marriage?

  • Proprietist||

    Illogical. Every time a Belgian guy tries to immigrate through his husband, a federal agent has to whip out their 50 state register of marriage laws to determine if they meet all the equivalent marital conditions of the state they intend to live in? Why is it the responsibility of the federal government to administer state law? And what will that do besides slow down the already snail-like and convaluded immigration bureaucracy?

    If Texas doesn't recognize them, Texas doesn't have to give them any state-level marital-associated programs/taxes/etc (although the explicit wording of the 14th Amendment indicates otherwise).

    That should have nothing to do with how the Federal Government administers federal programs, privileges and protections.

  • Pro Libertate||

    State law governs a lot of stuff. Why not marriage?

  • Proprietist||

    I think I just explained why, for immigration purposes, state law is irrelevant. Bill and Markus get married in Sweden. Then the immigration agent has to check all the updated marriage statutes for whichever state they plan to live in.

    The federal government should not be responsible for administering the laws on the basis of the laws of the 50 states any more than the states should be responsible for administering federal laws, the federal tax and immigration codes, etc. The federal government has to have a consistent definition of marriage for their purposes, since they are supposed to represent ALL Americans.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They have to do that in plenty of areas, like sales taxes. I'm totally against the federal government trumping state law, especially in areas where the states have traditionally had the primary power. Certainly, just because it's easier to deal with is a poor reason to expand yet again federal power.

    There is, of course, a federal equal protection argument, but that has nothing to do with administrative convenience.

  • Proprietist||

    I agree that federal auditors have to factor state sales taxes into their audits. The difference is that one is a protection to ensure you aren't being double taxed while the other is used to exclude you from benefits, tax breaks, immigration, etc.

    And like the DOMA, I think the income tax needs to disappear, so I'm being relatively consistent.

    You still keep missing my point. Bill and Markus married IN SWEDEN. Whether they want to move to Texas or Massachussetts is irrelevant to whether the federal government should allow Markus to immigrate. Even assuming states have power to disregard their marriage and Texas does not have to give Markus any spousal benefits for Texas programs, what does that have to do with how federal laws apply to Markus?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Why not let the state they're going to matter? I don't see why this is such a big deal--again, leaving aside the equal protection question. The states must be uniform to allow for immigration? Why? Our Swedish friends can figure out which state works for them.

  • Proprietist||

    Leaving aside the equal protection argument (which I still think means states have to be uniform on the basis of Loving v. Virginia), let's say the states DON'T have to be uniform. Their laws and programs only apply to in-state residents/taxpayers. Fine.

    The federal government has to have a uniform definition, however, because their laws apply to all residents/taxpayers across state lines. All working Americans pay Social Security taxes. But only gays living in states with gay marriage laws get spousal benefits?

    So you think the SS Administration, the IRS, the INS, the VA, etc. has to administer federal programs and codes everyone pays for discriminatorily based upon constantly changing state marriage statutes? That's insane, and stupid.

    And you're still missing that the legal marriage in my example was in Sweden, thus state marriage laws don't even apply.

  • Concerned Citizen||

    I'm guessing the divorce lawyers are lobbying hard for same sex marriage.

  • Apple||

    And still no candidate has come out in support of polygamy.

    A right delayed is a right denied!

  • yonemoto||

    but only polygyny - since polyandry is icky.

  • Ranter||

    Awesome. Yet another display of adult, level-headed reasoning by a great candidate. Bonus points for calling out Obama on his BS empty pandering.

    Great job, GOP - go with the brainless, mormon automaton who's a RINO when it comes to healthcare and ignoring freedoms.

    Is it possible to hate either party any more than we already do?

  • Proprietist||

    What does RINO mean? I mean, technically Johnson and Paul are RINOs, since their policies have little to do with the GOP platform.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Republicans I No Ordain"?

  • ||

    I mean, technically Johnson and Paul are RINOs

    The LP candidate for president -- Johnson -- CAN'T currently be a RINO (Republican In Name Only). He was one when he was running for the GOP nomination.

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure RINO ia usually used to describe Republicans who vote to the left of the GOP mainstream, IOW a Republican whose voting record is indistinguishable from a
    Democrat's.

    They used to be called liberal Republicans or Rockefeller Republicans.

  • Proprietist||

    No, RINO (Republican In Name Only) indicates anyone that is nominally Republican yet consistently in conflict with the party's platform. Like Paul or Johnson, who are actually constitutionalists/libertarians and not conservatives.

    Even if you argue they are "more Republican" than Republicans on fiscal and governmental issues, they still contrast starkly on social and military policy.

    Even if you argue that all Republicans would share their libertarian values if they were consistent, then you are saying that just about all Republicans are RINOs, which doesn't really make sense, because they actually control the party policies.

  • ||

    Except in my experience that the people who generally use the term are people who only recognize a bipolar world of Republican and Democrats so they are usually referring to Republicans who vote like Democrats.

    Exposure to people like Paul or Johnson who hold antiwar and anti-intervention views that make Democrats as well as Republicans cringe and anti-welfare state views that make Republicans as well as Democrats cringe usually causes their heads to assplode.

    I have never heard anyone refer to either Paul or Johnson as RINOs. But I suppose they actually are. :)

  • ||

    Also, the term is also almost always used to describe those moderate Republicans who vote with Democrats on every issue thus furthering the goals of the Democrats.

    Although Paul and Johnson hold positions in conflict with the GOP their positions are also in conflict with Team Blue. Ron Paul has never (hardly ever, maybe) voted on any measure supported by a majority of Democrats. The times he goes bipartisan have been on Drug War stuff and auditing the Fed. These have only ever been supported buy a hndful of mavewricks from either party.

  • Proprietist||

    Of course, that's what I meant.

  • Just Dropping By||

    I'll give Johnson a pass, but I do wonder about the toxic blood levels of hypocrisy in the numerous conservative commentators denouncing Obama for saying gay marriage is a question for the states after those same commentators have repeatedly cheered states enacting bans on gay marriage.

  • Mensan||

    Are you saying you expect principled consistency from socons?

  • Zeb||

    I didn't hear Obama's speech. Did he say anything about DOMA? I agree with those above that say that marriage ought to be handled by the states (but full faith and credit is an issue that needs more attention). But he should at least say he wants DOMA repealed if he wants to be taken at all seriously on this.

  • Proprietist||

    I thought Obama always opposed DOMA.

  • Proprietist||

    The administration stopped defending it in court a year ago.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Obama - being the Democrat that he is - should, in theory, be against states having any autonomy in the lawmaking process... I smell a rat.

  • Proprietist||

    Many Democrats support state autonomy in, for instance, medical marijuana law. In this case (like that one), deferment to federalism IS passing the buck and attempting to avoid political consequences.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Yeah, but for the most part Democrats equate states rights with racism and suffrage for women. Works great for the election-cycle handwringing slogans, every two years.

    But if they - or Team Red - ever got the chance to shitcan all state-level decision-making, replacing it with centralized government? Fuck, yeah, they'd go for it, because both Teams are authoritarian as fuck.

  • Proprietist||

    I just think federalism has little to do with libertarianism. Federalism is awesome when it comes to expanding liberty and overriding oppressive federal programs and policies, and allowing states to compete for citizens with different arrays of programs/tax structures/etc.

    However, if we maximize liberty and end oppressive programs at the federal level, then federalism would usually conflict with libertarianism, since it implies states would be imposing policies that restrict liberty more than the federal government.

    Both parties support federalism when it comes to giving states discretion to override federal policies they don't like. But they'd both prefer to impose unconstitutional powers (or grant certain liberties) they want at the federal level, if politically possible. It makes sense if

  • Proprietist||

    ...you think about it LOL - as anon-bot would say.

  • R C Dean||

    Prop, I think you're overlooking people voting with their feet.

    Properly designed, the feds would have little power to restrict liberty, and the fed Constitution would put limits on states restricting liberty.

    Within those bounds, the states could do what they want, but people and businesses would migrate to those states where they would do best. Which is why "race to the bottom" is invoked whenever people start talking about state regulation of business. The mobility between states sets up a competition to be the least restrictive, not the most restrictive.

  • Proprietist||

    I agree, as I also noted the point about state competition for citizens.

    But if the Federal government were the libertarian dream state yet allowed states full federalism, any state acting on the enormous degree of policy available would automatically be less libertarian than the federal government. Federalism is only libertarian when state law is relatively preferable to federal law.

    If Mississippi wanted to incarcerate black people for being black, a consistent federalist would say that the federal courts/equal protection laws couldn't override these state laws. And in this case, black residents couldn't exactly "vote with their feet".

    A similar argument could be made for the Lawrence v. Texas case, where a gay man was incarcerated for sodomy. Federalists like Ron Paul would say that the federal courts have no jurisdiction to overturn TX law, while libertarians would say "who gives a damn about technical jurisdiction, gay people have basic liberties that should be protected, by any means possible."

  • LikeATimeBomb||

    So, just to be clear, Obama's position, being widely lauded by people who probably didn't even read what he said, is the exact same position that Cheney has gotten hammered on by the left for having (personal conviction, but leave it to the states, blah blah blah).

    Good on Johnson for calling out Obama's bs. You know what would make this all a non-issue though? If we just got all government out of the marriage licensing/definition business.

  • RemainCalm||

    State governments should never be permitted to discriminate on the basis of genitalia shape, even if a voter majority wants to impose such bigotry. Tax-funded government services should be available to all citizens equally, regardless of the shape of their bodies.

  • ChrisO||

    I've seen a surprising number of commenters at conservative sites advocating that government get out of the marriage business altogether. Not a majority, obviously, but more than I expected.

    I think many social conservatives realize this is ultimately a losing battle for them, but it certainly makes for a good way to get people (on both sides) worked up in time for the election.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    That would be the sensible action, but gays want that piece of paper as bad as the ultra-conservatives who want government involved in marriage.

  • Mr. Soul||

    Gays need marriage like a fish needs a bicycle.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "You know what would make this all a non-issue though? If we just got all government out of the marriage licensing/definition business."

    While we're at it, why not unicorn steak with a side of rainbow fries?

  • ||

    that's rainbow FREEDOM fries, Mister...

  • IceTrey||

    Disappointing take from Johnson. He should have said no state issued marriage licenses for ANYBODY. Which is what this is really all about. He also says gay couples shouldn't be discriminated against, but what about same sex hetero couples (there is no gay test when getting a license) who want to get married? Is he ok with discriminating against them?

  • Proprietist||

    From what I know, Johnson agrees no statust would be preferable (that was his original stance). That doesn't change that in the interim if the state recognizes marriage regardless, they shouldn't discriminate on the basis of gender/sexuality any more than they should discriminate on the basis of race.

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