Guest Blogger

Guest post by Mike Kole: Libertarian candidate for Indiana Secretary of State

Filed By Guest Blogger | October 19, 2006 11:26 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, The Movement

pic.jjj.kolemug5.jpg(Editor's note: The following is a guest post by Mike Kole, the Libertarian candidate for Indiana Secretary of State. Mike writes about the Libertarian Party's views on sexual orientation and gender identity as well as his own candidacy. If you have any questions for Mike, leave a comment so he can respond.)

Thanks to Bil for his invitation to state the Libertarian position on all things related to the LGBT community.

I've always been astonished at the dogged clutching to the old parties. They rarely deliver for their constituencies. Have fiscal conservatives gotten the smaller government they might have expected from Republican majorities? Have Democrats been an unwavering voice for civil liberties?

What's more astonishing is that anymore, they rarely even pander to their core constituency. The latest troubling statements from Pat Bauer illustrate this point. Democrats are counting on the LGBT community to deliver their votes. But, in exchange for what? Not even for carrying the message? It's outrageous.

The outrageousness of the presumption of Democrats is magnified when you consider that there is a party on the ballot that speaks plainly in defense of the rights of the LGBT community- the Libertarian Party. Observe the plain language of the LP's platform:

I.9 Sexuality and Gender
The Issue: Politicians use popular fears and taboos to legally impose a particular code of moral and social values. Government regularly denies rights and privileges on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Principle: Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Government does not have legitimate authority to define or license personal relationships. Sexuality or gender should have no impact on the rights of individuals.

Solutions: Culture wars, social friction and prejudice will fade when marriage and other personal relationships are treated as private contracts, solely defined by the individuals involved, and government discrimination is not allowed.

Transitional Action: Repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act and state laws and amendments defining marriage. Oppose any new laws or Constitutional amendments defining terms for personal, private relationships. Repeal any state or federal law assigning special benefits to people based on marital status, family structure, sexual orientation or gender identification. Repeal any state or federal laws denying same-sex partners rights enjoyed by others, such as adoption of children and spousal immigration. End the Defense Department practice of discharging armed forces personnel for sexual orientation. Upgrade all less-than-honorable discharges previously assigned solely for such reasons to honorable status, and delete related information from military personnel files. Repeal all laws discriminating by gender, such as protective labor laws and marriage, divorce, and custody laws which deny the full rights of each individual.

We are very plain. Live your life your way. That's our essential Libertarian talking point.

So, it has been frustrating to watch community activists work their tails off trying to get governments at all levels to accept relationships of all people, regardless of sexual orientation. Our greater national culture is sadly very slow in coming around to accept all peoples and the relationships they choose.

American governments are the creation of majorities. So long as American majorities are clinging to discriminatory views, oppression on minority groups will continue. This is why we propose to eliminate marriage from the oversight of government.

This history of government licensing of marriage is a history of discrimination. Licensing came to pass after the Civil War, in the South. The purpose was to prevent mixed-race marriage. The discrimination continues to this day, as you well know.

We propose to leave marriage to the churches. True enough, many churches will refuse to marry gay or lesbian couples. However, we also know that some churches would perform these marriages- happily. The Metropolitan Community Churches, the good people who have undertaken the "Would Jesus Discriminate" campaign, is one notable example, as is the Broadway Methodist Church, and a host of others. (see the listings for more examples)

The Democratic Party is cynically using the LGBT community as an ATM, taking their money and their votes, while shying away from taking strong positions of support, much less advancing legislation in support.

The Libertarian Party is clear in its support. It seems like an easy call to me. Then again, I'm the Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State. But I am a Libertarian because of its' inclusive position.

If you want a party on the ballot that is plain in its views and strong in its support, I urge you to vote Libertarian.

If you continue to give your dollars and your votes to the Democrats in exchange for nothing at all, they learn that they do not have to do right by you. They learn that they do not have to even listen to you. They learn that they can safely take you for granted. Your support must be at stake for Democrats. With Libertarians on the ballot, there is a way to make it so.

Secretary of State is non-legislative, so there is no need to fear that taking votes from Democrats in this area would only serve to elect a Republican who would make your life even more difficult.

I humbly ask you for your vote. A vote for me is crucial for Libertarians, as the Secretary of State race is our ballot status race. We need strong numbers to stay on the ballot for another four years.

Start electing Libertarians to legislative positions, and we will make your life easier.

Sincerely Yours

Mike Kole

Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State

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But it's so much easier to color in that one bubble to vote a straight ticket...

Seriously, you make a good point. For the longest time, I didn't understand why so many folks stuck to one of the two major parties. But I get it now...It's about power. Power in numbers. I can "pretty much" agree with the Democrats and well, they're closer to having a majority than any other party that comes close to my beliefs.

The laws are setup to maintain two party dominance. Having the majority is what matters in US politics. Majority means money. Majority means control of the agenda. Majority means power. If we fracture, we then must rule by consensus. Problem is, the system is so setup for two parties that, well, I don't want to blink first, can you find some Republicans?

That's what it boils down to. Those who tend toward liberal causes are scared to death those nutjob conservatives are going to screw everything up, they're willing to take the back seat. And those who tend toward conservative are mortified that those hippie, tree-hugging, drug and sex crazed liberals are going to be the end of civilization so they're willing to put up with the hypocrites and blasphemers.

Who blinks first?

Marla R. Stevens | November 15, 2006 8:32 AM

I'm not going to argue with your assessment of being taken for granted -- it's a constant struggle for "base" activists within both the major parties to strike a balance between getting what we deserve from them and pushing too far past the middle for them to remain electable.

My argument is with your argument against civil marriage equality. I know you're not intending to make one but, in saying that the solution is to take away civil marriage from everyone without supporting our equal access to the existing civil marriage law until that's accomplished, that's exactly what you're doing in all practical terms, especially as your chances of getting het America to give up civil marriage are considerably worse than mine are of getting you hets to let us in on your deal.

Denying us equal access to civil marriage denies us critical marital privacy and civil liberty in that we can be forced to testify against each other in court or be jailed on contempt charges until we do.

Civil marriage is the means this country provides for couples to bring legal order to the complexities of marital relationships with deep and necessary entanglements of property. It protects not just us but also those who make such things as sales contracts with us. And it is the international gold standard for legal relationship portability as well.

If the U.S. wishes to get rid of civil marriage altogether, replacing it with some other contractual relationship that secures the things that couples need to properly care for themselves and their families, so be it.

But I have to question the legitimacy of a new solution that only seems to come up when we want equal access to the tried and true one. Something about that just doesn't pass the smell test, if you know what I mean.