Gary Bauer’s Absurd Attempt To Convince Libertarians To Oppose Same-Sex Marriage
A social conservative attempts to argue that same-sex marriage is a threat to liberty, and fails miserably.
In a column this week in Human Events, Gary Bauer, who once headed the socially conservative Family Research Council and ran for President in 2000, argues that libertarians and others who are concerned with individual liberty should oppose same-sex marriage rather than supporting it. Bauer’s argument, it appears, is that expanding the definition of marriage is a threat to individual liberty itself, the problem for him is that his argument is completely lacking in logic and common sense:
Recently, Frank Turek, an employee for computer networking firm Cisco Systems, was fired for authoring a book titled “Correct, not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone.” Turek had a stellar work record and never talked about his religious or political views on the job.
But after a homosexual manager at Cisco Googled Turek’s name, learned about his views and complained to a human resources professional at Cisco, Turek was immediately fired.
Bauer provides no details about the case beyond these paragraphs, but one can presume that Turek was a regular employee not subject to the terms of a written contract setting forth the circumstances under which he could be fired. One can also presume that whatever Human Resources policies are in effect were followed in his case. Assuming that’s the case, then what’s the problem here? Cisco is a private company and, absent federal laws barring discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age, and national origin, it can hire or fire whoever it wishes for whatever reason it wishes.
As many conservatives have in the past, Sarah Palin for example, Bauer seems to forget that the First Amendment only applies to government action. There is no such thing as a right to say whatever you want on any topic when you’re dealing with a private entity. This is especially true when you are on someone else’s property and working under their employ, where they have a right to set the rules of proper behavior and decorum. The same thing applies to the First Amendment’s religious protections.Cisco apparently decided it did not wish to be associated with a person who authored a book that some might find offensive and they decided to fire him. They had every right to do so regardless of the states of same-sex marriage. Heck, they could have decided to fire him based upon the way he dressed if they wanted to.
Bauer also brings up a case from Canada:
Also recently, Canadian sportscaster Damian Goddard was fired for declaring his opposition to gay marriage. Rogers Communications fired Goddard after he tweeted his support for Todd Reynolds, a hockey agent, who had earlier voiced his opposition to the activism of Sean Avery , a New York Rangers player who was part of the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign in the lead-up to the same-sex marriage vote in the New York State Legislature.
“I completely and wholeheartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage,” the sportscaster wrote.
The analysis here is the same as in the Cisco case. Leaving aside any differences between the law in Canada and the United States, as a matter of principle Goddard has no right to a job and certainly has no right to get on the air and say whatever he wants. His employed decided that what he said was inappropriate and, in the interests of the business, fired him. If Entertainment Contracts in Canada are similar to those in the United States, as a matter of fact, his contract likely contained a provision that allowed the station to fire him if, in its opinion, his on air behavior violated their broadcast standards. There’s a guy named Don Imus who can tell you a lot about how that provision of a contract works.
Bauer then closes his odd little screed with this appeal to libertarians:
All of this would seem to clash with the Libertarian Party’s official position that “Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs.”
Most Americans are understandably galvanized by the profound economic threats the country faces. The vital importance of addressing our fiscal problems is something libertarians and conservatives can agree on. But conservatives and libertarians can find common ground on issues beyond the economy.
Guided by the “minimum government, maximum freedom” ethos, libertarians should realize where their support for same-sex marriage will lead. The society gay-rights activists envision would destroy the very values libertarians claim to extol.
This is, of course, fundamentally silly. When you get right down to it, the real libertarian position on marriage would be that the government should have no role in defining what marriage is to begin with. If consenting adults wish to enter into such a relationship, they should be free to do so without seeking the permission or approval of the state. However, as long as the state does license marriage and, more importantly, as long as the state provides special benefits to the status of marriage that are unavailable to unmarried couples, then it should not be permitted to discriminate among couples merely on the basis on the gender of the participants. As Judge Vaughn Walker ruled last year in the Proposition 8 case, there simply is no rational basis for such a distinction. To claim that one supports individual liberty and oppose the right of gays and lesbians to marry is, quite clearly, logically inconsistent. Anyone who follows Bauer’s advice is a fool.