The Libertarian party held its convention last Memorial Day. C-Span covered it. Each of the major networks gave the pro-forma coverage to Gov. Gary Johnson being selected as the Presidential nominee. The pundits and press coverage of Libertarian politics tends to include qualifying phrases (“extreme”) that diminish any value of what the substance of the issue might be.
The party is the third largest in the U.S. and (as it has since its founding in 1971) it will have its candidate on enough ballots to win the Electoral College, a fact that no other ‘third’ party can claim. There are hundreds of elected Libertarians in positions in Government and the party has generated millions of votes in its four decades.
With the clutter of issues and punditry and the gamesmanship of the debates that exclude third party candidates, it’s easy to think that any party other than the Republicans or the Democrats is just fanciful.
The Democrats made history this week as they approved their Party Platform. While each Party’s positions are often a reflection of the candidate, and they are not binding for governing – they do provide a window into each party’s approach to an issue. Let’s look at this historic language – and how each of the parties tackles the issue:
Democrats: Freedom to Marry. We support the right of all families to have equal respect, responsibilities, and protections under the law. We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference. We oppose discriminatory federal and state constitutional amendments and other attempts to deny equal protection of the laws to committed same-sex couples who seek the same respect and responsibilities as other married couples. We support the full repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act
Republicans: The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engage in crime, or get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals. Furthermore, the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of family formation not only leads to more government costs, but also to more government control over the lives of its citizens in all aspects. We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.
Libertarians: 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.
I applaud the Democrats for including equality in their platform. Welcome to the world that Libertarians have experienced for 41 years as GLBT respect and freedom has been part of the LP platform all along. This position is absolute consistent with the LP Statement of Pinciples that I carry in my wallet:
We hold that all individuals have the right to excersise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.Today, more than ever, Americans deserve to hear as many approaches to the vital issues of the day as possible. There is a third way which isn't a third wheel: it's the third largest political party in the US.