Gary Johnson on Gay Marriage
Governor Johnson has a libertarian viewpoint on marriage. He does not believe that government should be involved in marriage, and that all couples should on level ground with respect to the government. Recently, Governor Johnson has acknowledged that government simply will not remove itself from marriage and that he therefore supported marriage equality.
In 2011, Governor Johnson was interviewed by Washington Unplugged and CSPAN. In those interviews, he asserted that marriage was not something that the federal government should be involved in, stating that removing the government from the institute of marriage represented the freedom and liberty that the Republicans should be espousing. He also stated that government should get out of the marriage business and into the civil union business and leave marriage to the churches.
Early in the 2012 presidential election, a number of candidates signed a pledge called the Family Leader Marriage Pledge. The pledge called for the candidate to remain personally faithful to a number of marriage related items from the Defense of Marriage Act to a Constitutional amendment defining marriage. It also expressed views that marriage between one mand and one woman was vital to healthy families and children. Governor Johnson was highly critical of the pledge, calling it the opposite of the freedoms of liberty that Republicans are supposed to espouse.
Governor Johnson's group called 'Our American Initiative' does not specifically define marriage as between one man and one woman from a moral standpoint, but it did state that Governor Johnson did not support gay marriage, only civil unions.
Later in the 2012 election, Governor Johnson stated that it was no longer reasonable to state that the government could remove itself from marriage. He noted that every law that dealt with marriage would have to be changed to allow for the same rights for civil unions and that was not feasible. From this view, he called support for civil unions a cop out as it allowed candidates to support a measure that would never reasonably happen. He then asserted that since government was involved in marriage and not leaving the issue, all people should be equal under the law and that meant that gay marriage should be allowed.
After this position change, Governor Johnson left the Republican candidacy for the Libertarian party. Those views relating to marriage equality under the law are in line with the Libertarian Party platform.
In February of 2011, Governor Johnson appeared on Washington Unplugged and discussed the issue of marriage. He agrees that he supports the civil liberties that would allow for gay marriage. The video can be seen here.
Interviewer: I know that you're in favor of gay rights. Do you think that this is an inevitability for the Republican party to take that stance or do you think that there will be more friction.
Governor Johnson: Well, it's freedom, it's liberty, it's ... How many times have you heard the Republicans talk about "I believe in freedom, I believe in liberty, and I believe in the personal responsibility that goes along with that?" Well in my estimation, that is what we should be believing in and espousing.
In June of 2011, Governor Johnson was interviewed on CSPAN and asked about his views on gay marriage. He stated that government should get out of the marriage business and into the civil union business.
Interviewer: Let's talk about social issues. First of all, gay rights and gay marriages. What's your view.
Governor Johnson: Well, I think that government should get out of the marriage business, be in the civil union business, and leave marriages to the churches. So, I would like to think that I am in support of gay rights. Included in those rights would be the ability of gays to be civility united.
Family Leader Marriage Pledge
During the 2012 election, an Iowa group came forth and asks candidates to sign a pledge relating to marriage. Governor Johnson rejected that pledge, stating that it was counter to indepent traditional Repubicanism.
Government should not be involved in the bedrooms of consenting adults. I have always been a strong advocate of liberty and freedom from unnecessary government intervention into our lives. The freedoms that our forefathers fought for in this country are sacred and must be preserved. The Republican Party cannot be sidetracked into discussing these morally judgmental issues — such a discussion is simply wrongheaded. We need to maintain our position as the party of efficient government management and the watchdogs of the “public’s pocket book”.
“This ‘pledge’ is nothing short of a promise to discriminate against everyone who makes a personal choice that doesn’t fit into a particular definition of ‘virtue’.
Our America Initiative
Governor Johnson started the Our America Initiative as a 501c. On the civil liberties page of that website, Governor Johnson spoke about his support for civil unions. He does not believe that government should be involved in marriage.
The government should protect the value of individuals and their civil liberties. The government should not intervene in the private lives of individual citizens unnecessarily. Personal liberty and freedom from unwarranted governmental control or regulation should allow law abiding individuals to pursue their own desires as long as they are not causing harm to other people. There should be “less government, greater liberty and lasting prosperity for America.”
Governor Johnson does support gay and civil unions. However, he does not support gay marriage.
Libertarian Party Platform
1.3 Personal Relationships
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. 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.
Support for Gay Marriage
In December of 2011, Governor Johnson noted that it was simply not feasible to change all laws relating to marriage to include civil unions. He referred to this viewpoint as a "cop out." He supports marriage equality if the government is going to be involved.
Campaign Website Statements
WE ARE A NATION OF MANY PEOPLES and beliefs. The only way to respect all citizens is to allow each to make personal decisions themselves.
- Life is precious and must be protected. A woman should be allowed to make her own decisions during pregnancy until the point of viability of a fetus.
- Stem cell research should only be completed by private laboratories that operate without federal funding.
- Government should not impose its values upon marriage. It should allow marriage equality, including gay marriage. It should also protect the rights of religious organizations to follow their beliefs.
 Website: Gary Johnson 2012 Article: Gary Johnson Calls Family Leader Pledge “Offensive and Unrepublican” Author: NA Accessed on: 08/25/2011