Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Libertarian Party of California Backs Domestic Partnership Initiative

Source: The Libertarian Party of California

PANORAMA CITY, Calif., March 26, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Libertarian Party of California formally endorsed the Domestic Partnership Initiative (DPI), a proposed state measure that would replace the word "marriage" with "domestic partnership" throughout the California constitution and statutes. The DPI was approved on March 9, 2009 by the California secretary of state for petition signature gathering.

Under the proposal, legal rights for all domestic partners, in same or opposite sex partnerships, would be identical and would include the rights currently afforded to married persons. Marriages would become a matter for religious and other civil institutions rather than a province of the state. Supporters need approximately 700,000 signatures by August 8, 2009 to have the initiative proposed constitutional amendment and statute placed on the 2010 ballot.

The Libertarian Party of California endorsed the measure at a regular meeting of the party's 15-member executive board, and it required a two-third's vote to pass. Ali Shams, a pre-law senior at the University of California, San Diego and one of the authors of the Domestic Partnership Initiative, appeared in person and presented his case to the board.

"People on both sides of the same-sex marriage issue support our initiative because it gives equal rights to everyone, with the same legal benefits as marriage currently bestows," Shams said. "No one has to settle for second-class status, with one word used for one group, and different word for another. Yet, anyone that wishes can still have a traditional marriage ceremony performed by their church. The emotional and spiritual bond this represents is in no way affected by our initiative."

When questioned about allegations that California married couples would lose rights in other states or countries if the initiative passed, Shams replied that this is a false dilemma: "In Denmark, my parents were joined in a civil union. What they had in actual fact in Denmark is called a marriage here. When they moved to the United States, they had no trouble getting it accepted as such. The same should be true for Californians moving to other places."

Kevin Takenaga, chairman of the Libertarian Party of California, said, "A marriage is a union between two people, a union they may choose to have blessed by their chosen higher authority in a religious ceremony. There is no place for the state in this relationship. By introducing the government into the sacred institution of marriage, which should be a purely personal and religious matter, we have spawned an ongoing cultural war that pits American against American. The Libertarian Party of California is proud to support the Domestic Partnership Initiative so that all Californians can be treated equally before the law."


UTF asks you -

Where do you see this fitting into the marriage equality movement? Would completely changing the governmental institution of marriage to domestic partnerships actually validate the arguments typically lofted against the LGBT community that we are in fact acting for special rights?

Will other states truly recognize these relationships as equal to their marriages? Is this a failed effort when compared to same-sex couples simply asking for the right to marry, which would not require a whole institutional change but just an inclusion?

What do you think? Is this a good strategy?


  1. I guess I'm becoming a broken record on this, but I deplore this strategy. To me, it's tantamount to quitting. I might approve of this if it were federal, but to say Domestic Partnership is good enough in California while everyone else in America gets married is acceptance of second-class citizenship for everyone.

    I'm not happy if everyone must descend a peg or two so that equality can prevail in California. That's a cop-out of the highest order. And it's not the way of progress.

    The measure is also woefully unrealistic. Society doesn't disentangle quite so easily ... so like it or not, marriage is inextricably entwined in our culture as the respected and cherished union of two people in love.

    It might be nice if the government were completely out of the marriage business. And it might also be nice if the Moon were made of cheese that I could take a bite of with a really long ladder.

  2. I believe that it is too late for this strategy. Marriage carries a legitimacy that domestic partnerships just don't have. At this point, domestic partnerships would feel like second best. Separate institutions mean that equality is lost.