Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Libertarian Party: "Battered Gay Voter Syndrome" Hinders Equality

Box_libertarian_party_stickers_door_hangers-2This nation's political parties are rapidly realizing that the "gay vote" matters and are stepping up their efforts to woo LGBT Americans.

National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman John Cornyn, for example, attended a Log Cabin Republican dinner this week, a first for a GOP leader, and the White House continues to insist the President opposes Don't Ask, Don't Tell, despite a DOJ objection to judicial repeal.

It's no surprise, then, that the national Libertarian Party would also throw its hat in the LGBT ring. Their attempt, based on the "battered gay syndrome" that comes with voting Democrat, deserves, and earns, a double-take.

Highlighting the Democrat-led Congress' failure on gay equality, including its inability to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell, for which they hold Harry Reid accountable, the Party contends that gay voters must turn their backs on the party to break "battered gay voter syndrome."

"Like abused spouses who keep returning to their aggressors, gay voters keep handing their votes to the Democrats who abuse them," opens the statement. The next line echoes tones both of ex-gay and "blame the victim" sentiments: "The Libertarian Party (LP) wants to break this self-destructive behavior and offers LGBT voters a better alternative." Subtly isn't the party's strong suit, is it?

"Unlike the Democratic and Republican Parties, the Libertarian Party believes that gays and lesbians deserve equal treatment under the law," the statement later asserts, before celebrating the party's mixed bag of inclusion: "black, white, young, old, straight, gay, Christian, atheist, yuppie, hippie, rich, poor, greedy, generous, eccentric and just plain average." It's quite a roster of adherents, yes, and one the party attempts to address with their platform's "personal relationship" clause.

"Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the  government's treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption,  immigration or military service laws," the party's platform declares. "Government does not have the authority to define, license or  restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices  and personal relationships." But political platforms don't always translate to real life, civic practice.

Many LGBT voters are rightfully angry with Democrats at the moment The Libertarians, despite their state's rights stance and "get government out" proclamations, tend to lean more right than left when it comes to what we refer to as LGBT equality.

On the matter of the Boy Scouts of America's persistent exclusion of gay scout leaders, Libertarians favor the Scouts, arguing that neither the government, nor civil society, should infringe a private, member-based organization, and their critiques of the Democratic party are right out of the Republican play book. Take a look at their DADT attack on Reid, whose "procedural no vote" they blame for this week's failed repeal. 

The Libertarians write, "Reid claims he voted for [no] procedural reasons, but the whole situation seems calculated to look like they're trying to help, while making sure they don't actually help," while the LCR blasted Reid for "playing political games with the lives of the brave gay men and women serving in our military."

There's not necessarily wrong with leaning right, or Republicans for that matter, but the Libertarians don't necessarily offer a robust alternative. Gay voters need to be asking themselves, "Are the Libertarians the way to go?" And, more to the point, is the Libertarian Party's "battered gay" approach appropriate?

One thing's for sure: the Party's angle definitely got our attention.

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  1. There is much admirable about Libertarian thought; but voting for a Libertarian politician is pointless in our (American) political system. The Dems and Reps have it locked down, at least at the national level. I'm afraid part of the problem for gays is we are just not a large enough group to really make a difference except in local elections, even then that's questionable. Gays in general are not ghettoized and many, most, do not at least publicly identify as gay, so it's difficult to gauge accurate demographic figures and potential. The major parties like the $ contributions, etc., but will always place gays on the back burner compared to other minority groups such as Hispanics, whom both main parties are obsessed with because of their present ability to swing an election and future projected demographics. As far as minorities are concerned, neither main political party is really concerned with either gays or African Americans because neither can swing an election except locally here and there, compared to, for example, Hispanics.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Sep 24, 2010 3:32:40 PM

  2. Libertarians should fundamentally be for Harry Reid's procedural vote as it stops federal officials from attaching unnecessary amendments. Their stance make them Republicans in disguise.

    Posted by: Joe | Sep 24, 2010 3:43:39 PM

  3. Feeling "battered", are you?

    Don't like being able to marry in five states?

    Don't like civil unions and domestic partnerships in the other states where you can get one?

    Not a fan of hate-crime laws?

    Second thoughts about that kid you legally adopted?

    EVERY SINGLE RIGHT we have as gay people has come to us thanks to the votes of Democratic politicians and officials.

    Wanna switch to Libertarian? Go ahead, AFTER they do something for you.

    Posted by: BobN | Sep 24, 2010 3:43:56 PM

  4. Hiring a Republican or a Libertarian (a closet Republican who likes to smoke pot and have sex with people outside of the confines of marriage or within their sex) is like hiring a person that comes into your office for a position in management and say's something like "This is a nice business you have here. I've done my research and see that you've grown it at a respectable 10% every year since your father began it nearly fifty years ago. My vision for the organization is take out a big loan based on your excellent credit, fire all customer service and other "non-essential employees," go golfing daily with you and the executives, take a retreat to study Six Sigma in Hawaii and tell our customers that they are number one.. of course you and I realize that they actually number two. So when do I start?"

    Posted by: Dave | Sep 24, 2010 3:47:58 PM

  5. "Libertarians either believe that the government should get out of the marriage business altogether (civil unions for all), or that gay people should be able to marry. Barack Obama believes that gay people should not be able to get married, though straight people should. Most elected Democrats nationwide also oppose same-sex marriage."

    Libertarians also believe that it's just fine if your employer fires you for being gay and if it were up to them, you'd be left without any sort of legal recourse if your boss did that.

    Nice guys.

    Posted by: missanthrope | Sep 24, 2010 4:15:04 PM

  6. @Tyler: The reason European countries often have multiple parties is that they are usually parliamentary systems in which the "government" (what we would consider the executive branch, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet) is selected by the legislature (the parliament) from its own ranks. Therefore you can vote for an MP from, say, the Green party knowing that while Greens may never be able to form a majority government, they will occasionally be able to form a governing coalition with similarly progressive parties and have a voice in government. But under our system of separated branches, the executive is elected by the people (more or less) and therefore "governing coalitions," so to speak, must be formed among the electorate in the form of parties that can realistically hope to capture the majority vote on a reasonably regular basis. And that means only two parties can ever be viable at the same time. (This is why neither party in the US will ever be ideologically "pure" and still capture the White House, Tea Baggers' wet dreams notwithstanding.) It is all about the executive because that's where the power is. And as long our President is elected by the voters (again, more or less) we will have a two party system.

    Posted by: Atlanta Guy | Sep 24, 2010 4:16:29 PM

  7. It's like being courted by a pimp when approaching the end of an untenable relationship... "Come on, boy... You deserve better than that. Come work for me and I'll give you all meth you need and we'll make us money. You know I'll treat you right."

    Posted by: bryan | Sep 24, 2010 4:59:41 PM

  8. I'm a libertarian and the only Republican I have ever voted for was Ron Paul. I pretty much always vote Democratic because they support equality for gay people and because they actually balance the budget. If the government is going to spend money then it should have to tax the current generation to pay for it instead of saddling future generations with debt. The Democrats have a better recent history of actually trying to balance the budget.

    I could really care less if they tax the hell out of the rich, because the vast majority (though not all) get rich through government regulations and subsidies. If the rich want to lie down with dogs, then let them get fleas.

    I will probably wind up voting Green Party in my state for most offices simply because I'm sick of the two party system. It is a protest vote but I don't like most of the D and R candidates anyway. It's not like there is much difference between the two parties in my state in any case. I would personally like to see a completely non-partisan voting system from dogcatcher on up, but I doubt that will ever happen.

    Posted by: Jason Young | Sep 24, 2010 5:03:05 PM

  9. @Atlanta Guy: you are not altogether correct. Congress holds greater power than the president by virtue of the fact that they control the purse strings. The Speaker of the House can actually shut the government down by not funding it's operations. Ask Newt how that works. So the House or the Senate can send everyone funded by the government home if they want to.

    The President derives his power through use of the "bully pulpit" in that he can persuade members of Congress by appealing directly to the people to get things done (political capital). He also has the ability to strong arm (the bully part) members of his party because he is the head of the party. He can threaten them with getting no money or party support or sometimes the threat of finding a primary challenger will bring them around.

    The President has the power of the veto, but that too can be over-ridden by Congress. So the power of persuasion and the veto are his major powers to get things done. If he aggressively leads, the people and the Congress will follow.

    Now in the past 8 years the Presidency has been made more powerful because Congress has abrogated some of their power and authority to the President, they've also given his office powers that no President has had before via the Patriot Act. This is what the debate is over the principal of the "unitary executive", these new and improved powers were first given to Bush, by Congress after 9/11. Obama has not reduced or given back any of those powers or authority. Nor is any future President expected to do so either.

    If the GOP captures the House in November, which all common wisdom says they will, Obama will become a lame duck and much of our government will come to a standstill. The House will pass legislation that will die in the Senate (as it does now) and if the GOP can put a majority coalition together of Republicans and Blue Dog Dems, they will be able to move their agenda. The President can check them using his veto power, but there is always the chance it will be over ridden.

    So, the President's power stems from his ability to persuade. The House and Senate control the money that makes things happen and the Supreme Court decides if legislation is "Constitutional" based on the court's interpretation of the Constitution. Checks and balances. Civics class over.

    Posted by: Bob R | Sep 24, 2010 6:25:33 PM

  10. I say we all register republican and really screw them over

    Posted by: Grover Underwood | Sep 24, 2010 8:20:38 PM

  11. Libertarians aren't my cup of tea. I'm not "with" any particular part either. I'm for Bold Progressives, who just happen to be Democrats

    Posted by: ravewulf | Sep 25, 2010 2:16:58 AM

  12. I am not voting for the "D" idiots who BETRAY us. Neither am I voting for the republiCONs ever.

    The Libertarians? I seriously doubt it.

    Besides, my money I would normally give to candidates is now going to ME. I'm going on my 2nd gay cruise in the largest ship being built as we speak.

    ZAS you freaking IDIOTS in DC!

    Posted by: FunMe | Sep 25, 2010 5:41:21 AM

  13. Oh and for those with the "where are they going to go" or "have patience" ... I am not going to reward the Democrats simply for not being republicons.

    I have 2 phrases to those blind loyal Democrats:

    Stockholm syndrome

    Battered Wife (Voter) Syndrome

    Posted by: FunMe | Sep 25, 2010 5:46:39 AM

  14. As long as we have at least two parties so everyone can have both people to ally with and people to fear/hate. We might as well just call it cowboys and indians for adults.

    Posted by: Con Scio | Sep 25, 2010 6:59:01 AM

  15. I believe that libertarians are the only way for gays like myself to go. Republicans and Democrats will tailor their comments only to get your vote and then do what their political money "contributors" want them to do. Bribes from special interest groups is how the government operates. Wake up!!!!!!!! Libertarians have an honest, consistant message, based (shockingly) on principles, not bribes.

    Posted by: David Jarrett | Sep 25, 2010 9:23:06 AM

  16. Doesn't the Tea Party claim to be a Libertarian movement?

    Posted by: Tom | Sep 25, 2010 1:15:16 PM

  17. I would say vote Republican. If enough new Republicans are elected by slim margins, then they will realize that their election likely depends on gay votes as well, and they'll start advancing our issues. Look at the sheer number of Republicans who are publicly supporting us now, versus just last year.

    The lock Democrats had on the gay vote has been broken by Obama, for better or worse. The times when the gay vote can be taken for granted are over.

    Posted by: Randy | Sep 25, 2010 10:44:26 PM

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    Posted by: machassan | Sep 27, 2010 7:23:45 AM

  19. I'm gay and tend to lean quite libertarian, but most "libertarians" seem to be just rebranded republicans ... and that often scares me away from voting libertarian.

    Posted by: JohnP | Nov 1, 2010 12:48:55 PM

  20. Not only are the Libs just the GOPers who smoke weed and like sex, they will give the excuse to any establishment who doesn't want to serve gays because they choose not to. Ask them about the Seattle printer, for instance, who didn't want to print flyers for a gay bar because it was offensive to his being. (Before you answer, the printer broke state law in doing so).

    Every few years the LGBT community has to go through this nonsense from pretenders. Practically the only thing non-Dems gays got right in recent years is suing against DADT in courts, but beyond that, they are ironically the ones who consistently return to the party that hates them.

    The Dems have been the only party that has made significant strides for LGBTs. Did we have to push them? OF COURSE! But pushing them to act is HOW YOU GET THINGS DONE. Never rest on your laurels and expect any party will work for you without your input. Always. Get. Involved.

    Posted by: Lew | Jun 30, 2011 12:15:44 PM

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