I spoke at a press conference this morning with a coalition of opponents to SJR-7, Indiana's proposed constitutional amendment that would affect same-sex marriage.
I was pleased that the Libertarian Party of Indiana got involved with the opposition to this. Like so much of today's legislation, I believe it seeks to oppress a minority because it seems oppressable.
At the core, I believe that government has no business regulating marriage. As a straight, married man, I resented it deeply when I was compelled to purchase a marriage license from the state. I had a church willing to do what I consider church business- a marriage.
So why, as a straight married man, did I speak with the opposition? Because I do not believe that you have to be a part of the oppressed group to be moved to defend them. I would have been a resistance fighter against the Nazis on behalf of the Jews, had I been in Europe, even though I am not Jewish. I defended smoking in private establishments even though I have never been a smoker.
I stand with the opposition because I believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Here is an early report, from the Star:
A Democrat, Republican and Libertarian joined together on the south steps of the Statehouse this morning to denounce a proposed constitutional amendment
to ban same-sex marriages.
Indianapolis City-County council members JoAnne Sanders, a Democrat, and Scott Keller, a Republican, both called for the Indiana House to reject the amendment, as did Libertarian Mike Kole.
"I am inherently appalled by this amendment, which is an effort to write discrimination into our constitution," Sanders said.
Keller called for fellow Republicans to listen to the "voice of history" and realize that backing an amendment against same-sex marriage ultimately will be judged as wrong just as previous laws banning interracial marriages were.
Kole, who ran for secretary of state in 2006, said legislators should leave the business of marriage up to churches, adding that the amendment "rejects liberty."
Here is the full text of my prepared remarks:
Libertarians stand today in opposition to SJR-7. We stand with the opposition for many reasons, but I will focus this morning on a key, traditional, American viewpoint.
Americans have the right to live their lives their way.
This was the view of the Founding Fathers, and in particular, Thomas Jefferson, when he wrote in the Declaration of Independence that among our unalienable rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Libertarians honor this long-held, traditional belief as sacred. We ask those who state their support for SJR-7 on traditional grounds to consider just what traditions they are willing to trample in the name of conservative values.
The association of the pursuit of happiness and marriage is not new when regarding bonds seen as controversial to some. Chief Justice Earl Warren declared, in the Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which dealt with mixed-race marriages, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”
SJR-7 is an affront to the pursuit of happiness.
SJR-7 continues an ugly history of governmental involvement in the regulation of marriage. As I alluded to, the history of government meddling in the business of marriage begins with another discrimination, on the basis of race.
All states have repealed statutes banning mixed-race marriages. Undaunted by the enlightened end of that bigotry, Indiana and other states bring forth legislation that rejects the philosophical underpinnings to our traditions, and rejects liberty.
Rather than adopting SJR-7, the House should do the right thing and reject it. The House should soon enough begin to get government out of the business of marriage, leaving that to the churches.
As we know, many denominations will marry same-sex couples. Many others will not. Everyone goes home happy. There’s that pursuit of happiness again. Leave
everyone free to choose.
Government has a legitimate role to play when marriages fail. Government is correctly the referee, ensuring that obligations are upheld.
That’s the extent of government’s legitimate role.
SJR-7 is just another example of the eagerness of too many of our legislature and our citizens to use government as an instrument of oppression against minorities they believe are fair game to oppression.
Libertarians urge our leaders in the House to resist the temptation to abandon the cherished belief in the right to the pursuit of happiness.
Libertarians urge the House members to reject SJR-7.
I hope the House does just that today. I'll be watching the news reports on TV this evening and following online.
Big Thanks to Bil Browning for inviting me to stand for the Libertarians at the press conference!