Gary Johnson on Civil Rights
Libertarian presidential nominee; former Republican NM Governor
JOHNSON: He has said 100 things that would disqualify anyone else from running for president but doesn't seem to affect him. That statement in and of itself it really is--it's racist.
Q: You feel that his statement is racist, or do you think he is racist?
JOHNSON: Well, when it comes to Mexican immigration and that he would call immigrants from Mexico murderers and rapists--look, that's just not true. They are more law-abiding than U.S. citizens and that is a statistic. The stuff he is saying is just incendiary.
Q: Incendiary, but do you think he himself is racist?
JOHNSON: Based on his statements, clearly. I mean, if you look up the definition of "racism," calling a U.S.-born Hispanic a Mexican and his inability to judge others [because he is Hispanic, that's racist].
[Johnson was interviewed along with Vice-presidential nominee William Weld.] Both men described themselves as fiscally conservative but accepting of social differences. They are pro-gay marriage and support protecting a woman's right to abortion.
A: Well right now you can't discriminate. Right now. So you would basically be changing the fact that now you can't discriminate. So am I going to advocate for your ability as a business owner to be able to discriminate? I'm not going to advocate for such. I see that as harm to the individual. And I see [discriminating based on] religion as a black hole. It's not like you don't have shoes on; it's not a whole bunch of reasons a business owner would normally refuse you service. I'm going to refuse you service because of religion?
Q: That might be dangerous?
A: It would be very dangerous. It would provide a segregated America. So back to the wedding cake, and the ability of the business owner to discriminate, I think there's somehow this belief that business currently has that ability. They don't. Court case after court case shows they don't.
Johnson said, "Instead of insisting on equality as a US Constitutional guarantee, the President has thrown this question back to the states. When the smoke clears, Gay Americans will realize that millions of Americans in most states will continue to be denied true marriage equality."
Johnson, once a long-time supporter of civil unions, has also "evolved" on the gay marriage question. "As I have examined this issue, consulted with folks on all sides, and viewed it through the lens of individual freedom and equal rights," he said in December 2011, "it has become clear to me that denying those rights and benefits to gay couples is discrimination, plain and simple."
Q: You oppose gay marriage, though you favor civil unions. Why?
A: I wouldn't say I oppose gay marriage as a matter of public policy. The government shouldn't be in the marriage business. I would not be opposed to belonging to a church that supports gay marriage.
A: Prostitution? I have no intention of enlisting the services of a prostitute. But if I were, where would I want to do that? Well, I'd want to do that I think in Nevada where it's legal and regulated. I think I would be safer in enlisting those services. I would have the least chance of contracting HIV or Hepatitis C or any communicable disease in Nevada.
Johnson isn't shy to discuss areas where he may break with GOP dogma. "I support gay unions. I think the government ought to get out of the marriage business. And then for me as governor of New Mexico, everything was a cost-benefit analysis. There weren't any sacred cows--everything was a cost-benefit analysis. What are we spending money on and what are we getting for the money that we're spending? So in that sense, the drug war is absolutely a failure."
Q: Public employment?
Q: State contracting?
In 1976 the National Governors Association expressed support for ratification and implementation of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would constitutionally guarantee full citizenship rights and opportunities for women. In 1982 the drive for ratification fell short, and efforts to initiate the amendatory process were taken.
The National Governors Association reaffirms its support for the principles embodied in the Equal Rights Amendment, i.e., that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on the basis of gender.
[Many] conservative leaders are signatories to an "amicus brief" calling on the Supreme Court to overturn Prop. 8. Enacted in November 2008, Proposition 8 eliminated the fundamental freedom of gay and lesbian Californians to marry. The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) prepared an "amicus," or a "friend of the court" brief: a letter to the Supreme Court outlining a position on a pending case. AFER prepared this amicus brief, in support of gay marriage, and the "amici" signed it prior to sending to the Supreme Court.
"Many of the signatories to this brief previously did not support civil marriage for same-sex couples; others did not hold a considered position on the issue," the brief said. "However, in the years since Massachusetts and other States have made civil marriage a reality for same-sex couples, amici, like many Americans, have reexamined the evidence and their own positions and have concluded that there is no legitimate, fact-based reason for denying same-sex couples the same recognition in law that is available to opposite-sex couples."
AFER is dedicated to protecting and advancing equal rights for every American. As the sole sponsor of the federal court challenge of California's Proposition 8, now known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, AFER is leading the fight for marriage equality and equality under the law for every American. Building bi-partisan support has been part of AFER's mission ever since the filing of its federal constitutional challenge to overturn Proposition 8.
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