Some of our candidates, membership, and affiliates increasingly lean right, to the point that we are losing a significant portion of our (especially) LGBT and alternative base.
From the perspective of some of these important activists, communications from State affiliates and National are increasingly more conservative.
I don’t intend to argue their perceptions, and I do find that some of these instruments of the party are either discriminatory in nature, or offensive to large groups.
In light of this,
I move that the Libertarian National Committee send a letter to remind state affiliates of some of the statements of Principal, and planks of our Platform, namely . . .
“As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.
We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.
Consequently, we defend each person's right to engage in any activity that is peaceful and honest, and welcome the diversity that freedom brings. The world we seek to build is one where individuals are free to follow their own dreams in their own ways, without interference from government or any authoritarian power.”
And that to stay in integrity, Libertarians must fight to overcome discrimination, otherwise we are not in integrity with our stated values.
Standing by and watching discrimination is to perpetuate discrimination.
Since our Party instruments therefore cannot be discriminatory, the LNC asks that you not publish articles that are offensive to minority groups, and be especially careful about the use of terms that are offensive to minority groups.
The editor of LP News should also be directed to observe the same guidelines, and an article should be published in LP News that expresses the intent and message of this motion.
___________________ End Text of Motion ___________________
The following article appeared on the front page of
California LP website, under the heading . . .
Recent News from the LP
Italics are mine (Rachel)
Who Should Define Marriage?
by Adam B. Summers
It has been nearly two months since California started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and somehow civilization as we know it has not come crashing down. The legal and political fights over the issue are far from over, however.
Gay rights supporters tried and failed to keep Proposition 8 from appearing on the November ballot. That proposed change to the state constitution would ban same-sex marriages in the state and effectively overturn the California Supreme Court's May ruling. Opponents of same-sex marriage are fighting their own court battle, charging that changes to the wording of Proposition 8's ballot title and summary made by the attorney general's office might bias voters against the measure.
In its 4-3 decision, the California Supreme Court ruled: "[I]n view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to all same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples."
While the Supreme Court's decision offers homosexuals the same freedoms as heterosexuals to formalize their commitments to their significant other, it should also serve as a reminder that the government has encroached on the most personal aspects of our lives.
In the gay marriage debate both sides are right, and both sides are wrong.
Gay marriage opponents are wrong to use the law to enforce their notion of morality on others. Doing so violates the libertarian principle that people should be allowed to live their lives as they please, so long as they do not infringe on the equal right of others to do the same. A homosexual couple's decision to enter into a religious or social agreement certainly does not preclude a heterosexual couple's right to do so.
There seems to be widespread irrational thought about the very word "marriage." Polls consistently show that even in areas where voters are wary of overturning laws to permit same-sex marriage, significantly greater percentages of people favor bestowing the same rights on gay couples as on married straight couples, as long as the relationships are called some other name, like "civil unions." Even President George Bush, who pushed for the failed federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriages in 2006, has suggested that gay couples should be able to enjoy many, if not all, of the benefits of marriage through "civil unions" or "domestic partnerships" if individual states sanction such "legal arrangements other than marriage." But if the rights are the same, what difference does semantics make?
By politicizing a private matter—deciding to whom one may pledge one's love, support, and fidelity—opponents of same-sex marriage have created a world of winners and losers where once there were only voluntary promises. Gay marriage opponents are thus wrong to insist that they have the right to decide how marriage should be defined (i.e., whether it should be sanctioned only if it is between a man and a woman, or even whether marriage should be a religious institution or a secular social commitment) not only for themselves but for everyone else as well.
Similarly, same-sex couples should not be able to force their notion of marriage on others, either. Religious leaders or others who would perform marriage ceremonies have every right to refuse to marry couples for moral, philosophical, or any other reasons. Private business owners should be able to decide for themselves whether it is in their interest to offer group health benefits, family leave benefits, special mortgage loans rates, etc., to gay couples as well as straight. Furthermore, businesses should not be compelled by law to offer any particular benefits to any employee—gay or straight.
In addition, gay rights activists are wrong to petition the government for "equal" marital status. This demand merely perpetuates the politicization of what should be a private issue. Gay rights activists would better serve their interests by arguing that the government should not be in the marriage business in the first place.
Marriage, whether entered into by those who consider it a sacred religious covenant or those who see it as a secular social bond and contract, is a profoundly personal decision between those in love. The "sanctity" of marriage must be defined by the individual—or couple—not an interest group and certainly not the state. There simply is no role for the state in marriage.
___________________ End published article ___________________
Since the “religious right” has taken the use of the word “homosexual” (usually pronounced “homo SECT sual) and turned it into a pejorative, and the evolution of language has been to use the words “gay” and “lesbian”, AND that “gay” and/or “lesbian” is what the LGBT community prefers, it is offensive to the LGBT community to use “homosexual” in referring to them.
It is tantamount to using the word “Negro” to refer to black, or African-American people.
The government is in the marriage business. The federal government has, for decades, given benefits (employee and federal tax exemptions) to married couples and to unmarried heterosexual couples; continuing to deny the same benefits to same sex couples constitutes discrimination.
It is my contention that in this case, waiting until the government gets out of the marriage business is not libertarian. Opposing attempts to make make marriage a State’s Right issue, or to stay out of the attempts to make gay marriage unconstitutional are wrong.
___________________ End Rachel’s discussion ___________________
The following comments were received from OutRight ExComm member . . .
1) Language. We repeatedly urge the LP (and LP members) to use the right language when talking to LGBT Americans -- i.e. "gay and lesbian" or "LGBT." Yet every time we've made this point to LP communications under the Cory regime -- including to Mr. Gordon when he was comm director -- we were told to basically piss off. The LP's people insist on referring to LGBT people as "homosexuals," which has about as much communications efficacy as referring to African Americans as "negroid."
Regarding Ms. Mattson's platform shenanigans, the language on LGBT rights was completely stripped out of the original platform, and not a single openly gay Libertarian was invited to participate on the platform committee until the final draft was written.
As a result, the document which popped out Ms. Mattson's committee was wholly inadequate -- in fact, downright embarrassing -- on LGBT issues.
Fortunately, LGBTQ leaders and supporters like Carol McMahon -- and the majority of the convention-goers -- quickly repaired the platform to strengthen it to where it needed to be.
If you're under the mistaken impression that the LGBT Libertarian community did not notice the effort to foist the original embarrassing plank on LGBT rights, you are hugely mistaken. Just compare last year's donor list to this year's.
2) Last year, the Libertarian Party had a unique opportunity to scoop the Democrats and Republicans on marriage equality during Valentine's Day. Outright -- excited to get positive press for the Party -- contacted the Massachusetts, California and National parties to enquire about a press release.
California and Massachusetts, as always, came through.
National? Shane Cory refused to issue a press release, telling us that we needed to get our membership to e-mail him with a large volume of e-mail before he'd issue it.
I cannot think of a single situation where a Libertarian has ever been told that in order to get the LP to issue a press release on a Libertarian issue, that the leading Libertarian lobby has to beg its members to beg OUR OWN PARTY to put out even token support.
In the last days of Cory's tenure, on the LP-aligned (and Viguerie-owned) Third Party Watch web site, a number of Libertarians hopped in to state that the LP platform is opposed to same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption. Rob Power, a major donor in the LP Torch Club AND the Executive Director of the LGBT lobby of the Libertarian Party, asked Cory to pop in and make a two sentence statement repudiating the assertion after it was picked up and spread far and wide across the gay media as "Libertarian Party lurches right."
Mr. Cory's reaction -- in email -- to a Torch Club donor and public Libertarian of Mr. Power's standing -- was to refuse and tell him to "find something else to bitch about." And the story in the LGBT media, based on the party's inaction? That the LP opposes marriage equality and gay adoption and that Outright is "spinning around the issue."
Brilliant! Now we get to compromise our own perceived integrity -- as volunteers -- as well as get insulted for being major donors.
I'm going to be blunt with you guys. Without Outright and great people like Rob, Angela, Allan and Ruth to kick your asses into gear on basic Libertarian social issues (which are not "left," BTW, but smack-dab in the center of this party since its founding), I don't trust the national office to do the right thing on LGBT issues.
Virtually every intervention I've made on behalf of the Libertarian National office this year has been to explain away a f**-up, lobby internally for the party to adhere to the bloody platform and issue a press release on a major issue of import, or beg candidates and employees of national not to rip on the community through the use of bad language or Republican National Committee policies that are as distant from the LP platform as can be.