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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rebutting Outright on DPI

DPI completely repeals Prop 8, but Rob doesn't want you to know that. DPI is nothing more than repeal of Prop 8 plus renaming "marriage" to "domestic partnership" throughout California law. If DPI miraculously gets on the ballot alongside straightforward repeal of Prop 8, then people can vote for both, and whichever gets a larger majority becomes law.  Simple Prop 8 repeal would likely get more votes than DPI, but it would be a Good Thing if separation of marriage and state were part of the debate.

Rob claims that Republicans are behind the DPI, but when asked for evidence he quotes one anonymous (and innocuous) Facebook comment and claimed last month that the LA Times was about to "break" the story.  I'm still waiting for that evidence.  In the meantime, what this comes down to is a set of questions for your political intuitions:
  • Do you think DPI is a Republican/conservative conspiracy?
  • Do you think DPI has any chance in hell of getting the 700K signatures needed to get on the ballot?
  • Do you think that DPI somehow getting on the ballot would delay Prop 8 repeal?
  • Do you think that the Obama/Pelosi regime would let DPI passage cost married Californians hundreds of billions in lost tax advantage?
  • Do you fear (rather than welcome) a hypothetical game of chicken between DOMA and millions of married Californians?
  • Do you think "marriage" is a label that the LP should try to help win back from the religious right using electoral politics, instead of having the LP advocate for government neutrality in the culture war?
Rob apparently answers a confident "yes" to each of these questions, but my answers for now are all still provisionally "no".  If Rob ever does come up with evidence that DPI is a conservative conspiracy, then I will move to reconsider our endorsement.

1. Libertarian principles don't change with the business cycle. The LP's goal here is for the government to treat marriage like it treats baptism, and DPI is arguably a step toward that goal.

2. In a game of chicken between DOMA and millions of married California taxpayers, I wouldn't want to be riding with DOMA.  If in a fit of political suicide Obama's IRS took federal tax advantages away from those millions, federal rules would probably be rewritten to restore the status quo ante faster than you can say "AIG bonus".

It's simply mendacious to say that Libertarian endorsers of DPI support raising taxes, let alone doing so "solely to appease the semantic yearnings of social conservatives".  The LP's job isn't to help win a culture war over the M-word.  The LP's job is to stop social conservatives from legislating their morality.  Making marriage less like a sacrament and more like a contract is a step in that direction.

3. The first three sentences of paragraph 3 are simply false, and the other two try to pretend that DPI does not repeal Prop 8.

4. Paragraph 4 assumes mendaciously and without evidence that the LP has "withdrawn" from opposing Prop 8.

5. Renaming marriage to domestic partnership does not "solidify" anything, let alone "creates an entirely new, heavy-handed government regime".  It's simply a step toward making government's recognition of pair-bonding less like a sacrament and more like a contract.

6. What Rob still doesn't want you to know is that DPI is nothing more than Prop 8 repeal plus a search-and-replace on the "M" word.  See (2) above.

7. Apples and oranges.  Domestic partnership as a separate-but-equal version of marriage is indeed a bad idea.  That's not what DPI is.  Rob implies that renaming marriage has been tried before, but doesn't say where -- probably because it hasn't been tried anywhere in America before.

8. Again, DPI _does_ repeal Prop 8.  Last month, Rob promised evidence of the Republican conspiracy behind DPI and still hasn't delivered.  Will he have the evidence in time for the LPCA convention, less than two weeks away?