Libertarians and Gay Marriage
by Gary Bauer
What is the libertarian position on same-sex marriage?
Believing that government has no right to restrict citizens’ freedom to marry the mate of their choice, and holding that freedom is enhanced when the institution is made available to more people, some libertarians support same-sex marriage.
And at first glance, such a position might appear to correspond with the Libertarian Party’s motto: “Minimum government, Maximum Freedom.”
These core beliefs prompted rich New York libertarian Republicans to provide what some commentators claim was decisive support for New York’s Marriage Equality Act, which recently made the Empire State the largest state to legalize same-sex nuptials.
But as numerous recent events reveal, the forces behind same-sex marriage have little interest in minimizing government or maximizing freedom.
When New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage a few weeks ago, the liberal press couldn’t wait to announce whose support proved pivotal. As a New York magazine headline put it: “You can thank a few rich libertarians for gay marriage.”
Aides for Andrew Cuomo, New York’s Democratic and pro-gay marriage governor, met with Republican donors who ended up contributing $1 million to the pro-same-sex marriage fight in its crucial final days. It wasn’t despite these libertarians’ political ideology that they supported same-sex marriage, but because of it. The donors, as the New York Times put it, “were inclined to see the issue as one of personal freedom, consistent with their more libertarian views.”
Unfortunately, the radical redefinition of marriage threatens freedoms beyond marriage. The gay marriage movement has succeeded in erasing the freedom many Americans have to voice their support for traditional marriage.
Thirty-one states have voted to protect normal marriage and reject same-sex marriage. They range from liberal California to conservative Tennessee. Nonetheless, in increasing areas of American life, a person risks sanction for exercising his or her freedom of speech or belief in support of traditional marriage.
Recently, Frank Turek, an employee for computer networking firm Cisco Systems, was fired for authoring a book titled “Correct, not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone.” Turek had a stellar work record and never talked about his religious or political views on the job.
But after a homosexual manager at Cisco Googled Turek’s name, learned about his views and complained to a human resources professional at Cisco, Turek was immediately fired.
Also recently, Canadian sportscaster Damian Goddard was fired for declaring his opposition to gay marriage. Rogers Communications fired Goddard after he tweeted his support for Todd Reynolds, a hockey agent, who had earlier voiced his opposition to the activism of Sean Avery, a New York Rangers player who was part of the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign in the lead-up to the same-sex marriage vote in the New York State Legislature.
“I completely and wholeheartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage,” the sportscaster wrote.
Goddard says he will file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against his former employer. In a news release, Goddard said he was discriminated against for standing up for his Catholic beliefs. Goddard’s lawyer says that his fundamental right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion were violated when he was fired.
Same-sex marriage is already having a chilling effect on religious freedom. In states that have legalized civil unions or gay marriage, Catholic adoption agencies have been shuttered or lost their tax-exempt status for refusing to let gay couples adopt children.
Last week in Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn affirmed a decision by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services not to renew adoption contracts with Catholic Charities for the same reason because of the state’s law recognizing same-sex civil unions.
The radical homosexual rights movement is also trumping parental rights. In California last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a first-of-its-kind bill that requires public schools to add lessons about gay history to their social studies classes. Other states have incorporated the homosexual agenda into their curricula. In 2007, a federal judge ruled that Massachusetts public school students would not be able to opt out of lesson plans that normalize the homosexual lifestyle and promote same-sex marriage.
All of this would seem to clash with the Libertarian Party’s official position that “Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs.”
Most Americans are understandably galvanized by the profound economic threats the country faces. The vital importance of addressing our fiscal problems is something libertarians and conservatives can agree on. But conservatives and libertarians can find common ground on issues beyond the economy.
Guided by the “minimum government, maximum freedom” ethos, libertarians should realize where their support for same-sex marriage will lead. The society gay-rights activists envision would destroy the very values libertarians claim to extol.