Gary Johnson, the former two-term Governor of New Mexico, has long argued for Civil Unions for gay couples but on December 2, 2011, he came out in favor of Gay Marriage. His statement on the issue was the following:
As a believer in individual freedom and keeping government out of personal lives, I simply cannot find a legitimate justification for federal laws, such as the Defense of Marriage Act, which ‘define’ marriage. That definition should be left to religions and individuals – not government. Government’s role when it comes to marriage is one of granting benefits and rights to couples who choose to enter into a marriage ‘contract’. As I have examined this issue, consulted with folks on all sides, and viewed it through the lens of individual freedom and equal rights, it has become clear to me that denying those rights and benefits to gay couples is discrimination, plain and simple.
Certainly, religions and people of various faiths have the right to view marriage as they wish, and sanction marriage according to those beliefs. Just as government shouldn’t interfere with individual rights, government should not interfere with how marriage is treated as a ceremony, a sacrament or a privilege within a set of religious beliefs. However, when it comes to the rights of individuals and couples under the law, government’s promise should be to insure equal access to those rights to all Americans, gay or straight.
For a very long time, society has viewed gay marriage as a moral and, yes, religious issue. Today, I believe we have arrived at a point in history where more and more Americans are viewing it as a question of liberty and freedom. That evolution is important, and the time has come for us to align our marriage laws with the notion that every individual should be treated equally.
Dallwyn Merck, who has served as President of Stonewall Libertarians New York since July 27, 2009, commented as follows:
Stonewall Libertarians had a few weeks advance notice that Gary Johnson was considering leaving the Republican Party to seek the Presidential Nomination of the Libertarian Party in 2012. A number of our members told him his candidacy would be a non-starter for us unless he came out full-throttle in support of gay marriage. We told him that while our ultimate goal was to get the government out of the marriage business, if the government was going to continue to grant licenses to heterosexual couples, then to deny such a certificate to gay couples was discrimination and a violation of the 14th Amendment's guarantee of "equal protection" under the law.
We are pleased Gary Johnson responded to our concerns and we wish him well in his quest to become the Presidential Nominee of the Libertarian Party in 2012.
Stonewall Libertarians is an independent organization of libertarians that promotes smaller government, lower taxes and more individual freedom. They welcome all libertarians who are perceived to deviate from the norms of society and work to promote tolerance and equality in the Libertarian Party and in society at large.