Perhaps the most libertarian value is the belief that the government cannot (and should not) be involved with people’s emotions.
Discourse in modern media tends to focus on this belief when it comes to the right to hate. Debates over what should constitute a “hate crime” still occur. Where I don’t see many libertarians intervening in this discourse is when it comes to the right to love.
The National Libertarian Party called for marriage equality, in its own words, “…long before it was politically correct.” Why is it then that the queer community flocks to the left? Is it because the left has been more ardent defenders of the queer cause?
Not exactly. It wasn’t until 2008 that we began to see anyone on the main Democratic debate stage support gay marriage publicly, whereas the National Libertarian Party has been in public support of it since the 1970s. Is it because the Democrats have a louder voice, and so the queer community allied with them in the hopes that they’ll better get their message out? No.
Queer support of the left (and therefore leftist support of the queer cause, because let’s be honest, Democrats didn’t support the queer community until the queer community was firmly in their court), happened based on a successful government and media campaign to change the way society thinks about what it means to have “rights” and where they come from.
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 “gay marriage” ruling was handed down in 2015. In short, the ruling ordered states who would not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples to begin doing so, thus superseding section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act. This was a monumental ruling. However, it enforced a principle that seems to have been embedded into the minds of Americans. That principle is the idea that your rights as a human being are granted to you by the government. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of both the American Constitution and humanity.
It is certainly libertarian to believe that all humans have rights and that those rights are natural and inalienable. Our very humanity gives us such rights as the right to love freely – not the government. Marriage, a sacred spiritual tradition that must only be regulated by the laws of humanity, was never the government’s to take in the first place. Yet, with this decision, in the minds of millions of Americans, it reinforced the government’s supremacy over the institution.
It is important to remember that the Bill of Rights does not give rights to the American people. It protects the rights of the American people against the American government. The Bill of Rights was written with the idea that people had natural rights that needed protecting – not with the goal of creating a government that would grant its people
those natural rights. It is therefore important to consider what the queer community has actually been fighting for.
If asked, many would say, “The queer community does not have the same rights as the straight community and is fighting to achieve equality.” This statement suggests that the queer community did not have rights to begin with and is petitioning the government to be granted rights. I propose that this argument is both faulty and dangerous. The correct argument would be, “The queer community has the same natural, inalienable rights as every human being does, but its government is denying them those rights.” Whereas the first argument suggests that the government has the power and authority to grant people rights, thus actually portraying rights more as “privileges”, the second argument shows the reality of the situation, that the government is actively denying people their rights.
If it seems like simple semantics, it’s not. It is a powerful difference in the minds of the American psyche. The inevitable counterargument to the first statement that manages to come up in political discourse is, “We all have the same rights, so why should [insert any minority rights movement] have more rights than me?” The second statement, however, is not an appeal to be given something, but an appeal to a condition that is appalling to Americans: being denied rights.
By educating people about the difference in these arguments and showing people how our rights are not granted to us by the government but are inherently ours as humans, more people will begin to join the liberty movement. The liberty movement would have massive success within the queer community if only it began to voice these arguments.
We are talking about an entire community of people who want no more than to be allowed to live and love as they please. What is more libertarian than that? However, as most people are not educated about libertarianism, we often get lumped into far-right groups that would – and do – actively oppose queer rights. With a concentrated effort to educate the queer community about the liberty movement, new members would begin flocking to it.
I, therefore, conclude this article with an appeal to the queer community.
You are not without rights. You are being denied your rights. Welcome to the liberty movement.