Is A Libertarian the Better Gubernatorial Choice for VA’s LGBT Voters?
Is a 3rd party the hope for LGBT Virginians? Libertarian Gubernatorial candidate Robert Sarvis thinks so, and he’s put marriage equality at the forefront of his campaign.
Libertarian beliefs, extremely limited government and faith in the free-market, do come at odds with certain issues that progressive LGBT folks have been working towards for some time, but there is no doubt that libertarian LGBT folks exist, and its always exciting to hear from a candidate willing to fight for any LGBT issue.
Take a look at Sarvis’s campaign ad explaining how his own marriage would have been deemed illegal 50-years-ago.
Shortly after the DOMA and Prop 8 Decisions were passed down, Cuccinelli and McAuliffe sat down for a debate in Reston, VA. There, McAuliffe continued his weak support for same-sex marriage, saying “If you look at the composure of the legislature, it’s not an issue that I’m going to spend my time focusing on… It’s not going to change during my four years as governor.” After a recent PPP poll put him at 7% of the current vote, perhaps Sarvis’s chances to make impacts on the upcoming election are quite real.
Read through the conversation GayRVA and Sarvis had below, and let us know what you think about his politics, and his chances for making change here in the commonwealth.
GayRVA: So where do Libertarian concerns and LGBT issues intersect?
Robert Sarvis: I think that the Libertarian party has consistently, since very early on, as early as the 60s and 70s, been in favor of recognizing same-sex marriages and long before the democrats came around and certainly the republicans still weren’t there. We’re generally very freedom oriented, that’s the whole point of the party. Just reducing the laws that get in the way of LGBT community folks living like they want to live.
G: Are there some other issues besides same-sex marriage that you feel like a libertarian could better address than the mainstream?
RS: Certainly like drug reform. That’s not going to get talked about much without me in the debates or getting the opportunity to talk to voters. That’s an issues that’s crucial in so many different ways. We spend a lot of money policing, incarcerating. The laws have a lot of bad effects on economic activity and families and communities, leads to a lot of young men being put in jail. That’s not just bad for them, but it’s also bad for their children who are growing up without a father in the house, so there’s so many different issues that it touches in a negative way. My involvement in the race is going to help on that issue.
I certainly think that it’s worth trying to make the case to the public that free enterprise economic freedom doesn’t need to be wedded to regressive personal social politics and I think the libertarian party is the only party that can actually run candidates that have credibility and principles.
G: Are there alternatives to work place nondiscrimination, transgender bathroom use… how would you solve these issues from a libertarian standpoint?
RS: I think that certainly in the case of state employment, I’m in favor of nondiscrimination policies, I think that the best approach for private organizations that want to have their own internal policies is to make public their treatment of people, and people can decide whether to boycott or to express disapproval in that manner.
G: Where do you feel, from your personal experience with an interracial marriage, that these two roads intertwine?
RS: It’s important to recognize that the institution of marriage is a social institution prior to any government involvement and social institution is change, and the reasons why we enter into a marriage change over time and I think that just in the last generation, attitudes have shifted so dramatically precisely because of more broad changes in social views.
But also in the way we view marriage, and when those change, you can’t have government using the power of the government to impede those social changes. Obviously in the 60′s, the changes that were going on with race relations and laws, desegregation, all the laws to protect blacks, that was something where the miscegenation laws had been used to keep the races separate.
Looking back at that time at the state that I was born in, I couldn’t have married my wife 50 years ago, just makes it more personal. This is what’s at stake, it’s a personal issue. I don’t think any of the other governor candidates can say, my marriage was once illegal in this state. It just gives me further motivation. People who object that I’m comparing the two, and I’ll admit that the two arguments are not identical. We’re on the right side on both cases to be against anti miscegenation laws and against the ban on same-sex marriage.
G: The thing about private employers and nondiscrimination laws is, many of those that could afford to fight for their jobs (if they were fired for their sexuality) are in jobs that already have policies in place – corporations understand the benefit of non-discriminatory employment. But state-level and federal non-discrimination laws aren’t for those employees, it’s for the kid flipping burgers who gets called a “faggot” by his boss. How does a lack of government involvement in private business help those who are not in a position to bring a fight?
RS: I think the point is well taken, but it’s important to recognize, long before there’s enough popular support for laws for nondiscrimination, long before that you get public attitudes that will make places like McDonald’s, if that person makes public the accusation that happened, MacDonald’s has a very very very strong incentive to fire that manager and I think that we see that happening all the time. I think that people underestimate how powerful a free society can be in motivating those changes, and I think that most of the changes do come from social progress in a free society.
G: Do you think you’ll get to debate the other candidates?
RS: It’s certainly a challenge, but we have a really good argument and we already had Bruce Defoyd (9.32) basically inviting all three of us to debate on his program. I think it’s really important, I think that debate hosts have a duty to Virginia voters to include me. Obviously, as I said, the debate is going to go very differently when I’m there. I think it will be more substantive and the tone will be more adult.
G: How would a third-party candidate help in a two-party government?
RS: Well I don’t know that if you have someone in there like me, who is not beholden to either party and can actually negotiate with both parties, there are some issues republicans want movement on a gun rights bill, and they might be willing to trade that for a vote on a gay marriage bill. You need two votes separated by an election and a referendum to the people, so you can move it forward, you just have to have the right person who is willing to fight for it.
G: Are you at all concerned that votes for you could take away from one party or the other?
RS: I think it’s likely that we’ll draw votes from both sides, but I think a lot of our votes will come from people who are just going to stay home because they have no one to vote for. I think a lot of people are going to the polls because they have someone to vote for, especially young people. A lot of moderate voters are just turned off by republican/democrat bickering and lack of progress so I don’t see it as a spoiler issue.
G: So… a Libertarian Governor in Virginia – the largest receiver of federal money in the nation – how does that work with your limited government view?
RS: it’s a tough sell for people who are dependent on the government for sure. That’s why we need to get rid of a lot of the laws that keep economic activity and innovation that impede that because we are going to have to be flexible and have a more diverse economy. Federal spending is going to go down given our debt levels and so it’s going to have to happen and we have to have an economy that can move people into different industries quickly.
G: Anything else?
RS: it’s really important to reach as many voters as possible because there’s 40% of people wanting another candidate, well 40% actually said in the Washington Post poll that they want another candidate and this is the perfect opportunity to make a case for a lot of the issues that are most important. And whether it’s economics or personal.
Carver Elementary, like many public schools in Virginia, was closed today – it’s Election Day 2013 and some of Virginia’s most important political seats are up for grabs. The line wasn’t wrapped around the block at the tiny elementary school – but a few voters came in and out of the polling place shortly after [...]November 5, 2013
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