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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gay Rights Is A Mainstream Issue

I agree with Brian Miller that we "must hold our presidential candidates to the highest possible standards" -- especially when they themselves (unlike Barr) claim to be an authority on the LP's standards.
These questions for Barr on gay rights are entirely legitimate, and are not at all "purity testing".  Gay rights is a mainstream issue, and that's why I worked to get a strong gay rights plank in the Platform Committee's draft.  I've argued to PlatCom that, in constrast to our core ~13% constituency of liberty-increasers, gay rights resonate with a minimum of 35% of voters (gay marriage) up through 53% (civil unions) to a whopping 78% (open gay service in the military).  Exit polls in 2004 showed that 28 million Bush voters support either gay marriage or civil unions.
And I don't think Outright Chair Rob Power will mind me quoting his argument that history is on our side on this issue: "In December 2003, a CNN/Gallop Poll found that 78% of Americans believe gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military. 91% of young people ages 18 - 29 believe the ban should be lifted. Public opinion polls indicate a majority of Americans favor allowing gays to serve in uniform. A Fox News poll conducted in August 2003 shows that 64 percent of Americans now favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military, up from 56 percent in a similar poll taken in 2001."
The PlatCom gay rights plank says:
Sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity should have no discriminatory impact on the treatment of individuals by government, such as in current marriage, adoption, immigration, or military service laws. 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.
I submitted our plank to the eQualityGiving gay rights group that will be grading all the parties' platforms.  They gave our plank the best score an LP platform can hope for (since we don't support laws against private discrimination, so-called "hate" crimes, etc.).