Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Maryland Question 6

My apologies to readers outside the state of Maryland for this post on a Maryland ballot question for the 2012 election.  However, the issue of same-sex marriage is one that has been raised in virtually every state in the Union and will be debated in all fifty.  Therefore, I hope the general reader will also find this post of interest - Publius

The state of Maryland will have the following referendum (question 6) on the ballot on November 6, 2012.  A vote for question 6:

Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.

Although I intend to vote for question 6, I do not think this represents the best solution to the issue.  This issue ultimately revolves around differences of opinion between people of different orientations and different religious traditions about what constitutes a marriage.  Some see it as a sacred union, made holy by God, that is meant only to bind a man and woman together to become one, for the purpose of sharing a life together and raising a family.  Others see it as life-long commitment of fidelity between two people who love one another.  Others still see it as both.  The question is, why should the state be involved at all in this personal arrangement between two people?  While marriage means much more to the couples involved, to the state it merely represents a contract between two consenting adults.  The state's only role should be to mediate contract disputes (separations and divorces).  With any other contract, the state does not need to approve or give a license ahead of time, but the participants do have recourse to go to the state (the courts) if there is a dispute or breech of the contract.  Why does the state treat marriages differently?  If the state were out of the marriage business entirely then everyone would be free to marry whomever he or she chooses, provided both parties are adults and consent, within the dictates of his or her own conscience and religious tradition.  The ideal solution to this issue is not to expand state permission to marry to gay couples, but rather to get rid of state permission to marry altogether.

However, the preferable option is not on the table.  Therefore, I support question 6 as the next best alternative that would still treat everyone equally under the law.  This law would allow gay couples to enter in, and have legally recognized, the same type of life-long committed relationships as heterosexual couples.  Those who oppose gay marriage need not have one.  Churches that view homosexual behaviour as immoral need not perform them.  This is a pro-liberty law on every level.  It expands liberty for gay couples and protects the religious liberty of the traditionally married.

Recognizing the committed relationships of gay couples in no way threatens the time-honoured institution of traditional marriage, which remains a holy, loving, eternal commitment between a man and woman who, God willing, will start a family together.  In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson wrote, "But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods or no god.  It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."  Similarly, it does me no injury to me for my neighbour to have a same-sex spouse or no spouse.  It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

2012 Endorsement: Gary Johnson

In a previous post during the Republican primary, I endorsed Ron Paul for President in 2012.  With the Republican convention over, Mitt Romney officially nominated, and Ron Paul out of the race (he is not running as a third party candidate and in many states would not qualify to be on the ballot as a third party candidate due to "sore loser" laws), I endorse Gary Johnson, now the Libertarian Party candidate, for President of the United States in the upcoming general election.

In my Ron Paul endorsement, I gave serious thought to Gary Johnson, who at the time was also in the Republican primary.  Ron Paul was the more electable candidate in the GOP primary because of his abortion position that was more in line with rank and file Republicans, his ability to raise money, his organization, and his poll numbers that kept him included in the debates.  Despite lacking these advantages, Governor Johnson was and remains a credible candidate for President of the United States.  A former two-term Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson has executive experience and is the only candidate in the race ever reelected to executive office.  As governor, Gary Johnson engaged in the type tax cutting and spending cutting that other Republicans merely talk about.

As President, Governor Johnson would submit a plan to balance the federal budget next year.  This plan would include meaningful entitlement reform, a massive reduction in military spending by ending our involvement in unnecessary foreign wars, and the elimination of corporate welfare and industrial subsidies.  Governor Johnson would abolish the IRS and replace the income tax with a national sales tax, a position I also advocated in a previous post.  While Governor Johnson has not advocated a position on tighter monetary policy, he has promised a credible audit of the Federal Reserve.  As President, he would not sign extensions of the PATRIOT Act or reauthorizations of the NDAA that allow for infinite detention of American citizens.  He would end the practice of targeted assassinations of American citizens without real due process and stop the aggressive raids of medical marijuana clinics.  He is the only candidate in the race who will avoid a war with Iran.  If we are serious about limiting the scope of government, promoting peace, dealing with our debt crisis to create an atmosphere in which sustainable economic growth is possible, and restoring our civil liberties, then the only credible candidate is Gary Johnson.  Governor Johnson has both the principles and the executive experience to get the job done.

Some would argue that voting for Governor Johnson, or any third party candidate that isn't likely to win, is wasting your vote.  Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney represent the status quo.  With only minor differences, they both represent continuing the same failed policies of the last twelve years.  The same government tinkering with the marketplace, the same relentless assault on civil liberties in the name of security, and the same overseas military adventurism.  How is voting for that not a waste of a vote?  While I acknowledge that Governor Johnson is unlikely to prevail in November, it is equally important to acknowledge that real change, the kind of change we need to protect both our liberty and our security, is not going to come from either major party if we continue to endorse their maintenance of the status quo.  On the other hand, if enough Americans take a stand in November, if enough object to the two party duopoly, if enough make it clear that the status quo is unacceptable, then maybe, just maybe, the seeds of change can be sown.  If Gary Johnson can achieve a meaningful share of the vote, say 5% nationally or 1-2% in a swing state that decides the result in that state, then perhaps one of the two major parties would get the message and understand that those of us that believe in liberty and limited government can no longer be ignored (or face irrelevancy as a consequence of ignoring us).  Don't waste your vote on the status quo this November.  Strike a blow for liberty and vote for Gary Johnson!