Gary Johnson Calls Traditional Marriage Pledge “Offensive And Unrepublican”

Count former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson as a no on the “traditional marriage” pledge put out by Iowa “pro-family” group The Family Leader:

July 9, 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada – Presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson charged today in a formal statement through his campaign that the Family Leader “pledge” Republican candidates for President are being asked to sign is “offensive to the principles of liberty and freedom on which this country was founded”.  Governor Johnson also plans to further state his position against the Family Leader pledge this afternoon in Las Vegas, NV at a speech he will deliver at the Conservative Leadership Conference.

Johnson went on to state that “the so-called ‘Marriage Vow” pledge that FAMILY LEADER is asking Republican candidates for President to sign attacks minority segments of our population and attempts to prevent and eliminate personal freedom.   This type of rhetoric is what gives Republicans a bad name.

“Government should not be involved in the bedrooms of consenting adults. I have always been a strong advocate of liberty and freedom from unnecessary government intervention into our lives. The freedoms that our forefathers fought for in this country are sacred and must be preserved. The Republican Party cannot be sidetracked into discussing these morally judgmental issues — such a discussion is simply wrongheaded. We need to maintain our position as the party of efficient government management and the watchdogs of the “public’s pocket book”.

“This ‘pledge’ is nothing short of a promise to discriminate against everyone who makes a personal choice that doesn’t fit into a particular definition of ‘virtue’.

I wish there were more Republicans with the guts to say stuff like this.


FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Offensive, yes. But un-Republican? He clearly doesn’t know his party’s base very well.

  2. John Burgess says:

    Good for him! I’m thinking of trying to start a split within my local Rep. Party with an explicit “no SoCon” platform. Probably wasting my time in FL, but who knows?

  3. David M says:

    I’m impressed he was willing to condemn it so forcefully…however my cynical side can’t help but go with “Good luck getting that nomination”.

  4. MM says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Let’s not confuse Republican with Conservative–even though in today’s day and age, the two are routinely linked, one can be a Republican in policy and not a Conservative in belief.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    He’s right that it is un-American, and would be right if he added that it was not conservative. Unfortunately it’s utterly Republican.

  6. matt says:

    Kudos to him for standing up to the crazy. I doubt he’ll be nominated though.

  7. guthrum says:

    I admire Johnson for being different, but the gay marriage issue is going to cause further damage to the family structure in this country. I think that the gay “agenda” is trying to overreach and needs to go slower, show more patience.

  8. Ben Wolf says:

    @guthrum: Gays have endured inequality since this country was founded 220 years ago. How much more slowly can they go?

  9. Hey Norm says:

    BS…This is probably the most republican thing out there. The only domestic policy ideas they have are tax cuts circuit rich, and the control of uteruses. This is just part of their obsession with the bedrooms of other people. Bachmann and her husband are all about “fixing” the sexual orientation of people who don’t share their sexual orientation. Of course she, as one of the fron-runners of the party, was the first to sign it.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    With those beleifs, I am surprised he ever got elected to anything as an “R”.

  11. Don’t forget that two state Republican parties (Texas and Montana) have a plank in the official party platform that homosexuality should be a felony. Rick Perry, who is considered a serious contender for the party’s presidential nomination should he choose to run, has also spoken openly about his belief that homosexuality should be a felony. None of that has resulted in any sort of opprobriation from the party at large.

    When the belief that homosexuality should be criminal is still an acceptable belief within the party, it’s hard to seriously argue that the Family Leader pledge is “unrepublican”.

  12. rex jonas says:

    I believe one of the founders said this republic will not survive without a moral and virtuous people. While mr. johnson is correct that under our ideals of liberty and freedom people should be free of government intervention in most area of their lives, but he misses the whole point of the gay marriage debate. Supporters of gay marriage are not asking to be free to make their own personal choice. They are asking that government and society accept and validate their personal choice by changing the definition of marriage, without considering the consequences of that change to the rest of the society.

  13. Gerry W. says:

    @rex jonas:

    Who cares. Are you going to have any control a hundred years from now?

    And the other problem is that the right wingers are so one sided with their social conservatism (Bush, Palin, Perry, Pawlenty, Bachmann) that they end up not running the country correctly.

    I had a neighbor that did not want kids messing up his yard or even walking on his perfect yard. Well, today, years after he is dead, his house is torn down and his yard is a parking lot.

    There are other pressing issues today to be addressed and the political parties are not even close to fixing them. I would be more concerned with the other pressing issues that are not on the radar screen.

  14. An Interested Party says:

    …but the gay marriage issue is going to cause further damage to the family structure in this country. I think that the gay “agenda” is trying to overreach and needs to go slower, show more patience.

    How could gay marriage possibly cause such damage to the family structure in this country? Heterosexuals have pretty much done most of that damage already and will continue to do so no matter what happens with gay marriage…I’m sure people who fought for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s were also told they were overreaching and should go slower and show more patience…

    @rex jonas:

    Surely you aren’t suggesting that gay people can’t be moral and virtuous…

  15. rex jonas says:

    @An Interested Party: @An Interested Party: No I am not saying gays can’t be moral and virtuous people. I am saying changing the definition of marriage will have deleterious effects on our society.
    Example 1: Catholic Charities, has stopped offering adoptions services in states that have changed the definition of marriage because they are not allowed to give man/woman couples preference over same sex couples looking to adopt a child. This is fine with progressives who see no difference between a man and a woman and the values and perspectives they will provide their child
    Example 2: We see in the law recently passed in the California legislature that requires the teaching of LBGT history in public schools. This is disturbing to most religious people in this country, and would most likely be offensive to those gays and lesbians who have become part of our notable history. In most cases their historical achievement had nothing to do with their sexuality. This along with other notable government mandates, like Black and Chicano history months simply separates us into groups that the politicians can pander to.

  16. An Interested Party says:

    Catholic Charities, has stopped offering adoptions services in states that have changed the definition of marriage because they are not allowed to give man/woman couples preference over same sex couples looking to adopt a child.

    Umm, no…I believe it has more to do with the fact that Catholic Charities does not want to offer adoption services to same sex couples….they are, of course, free to practice this discrimination if they like, but they then shouldn’t be offended if the local government refuses to sanction said discrimination…

    As far as example 2, I guess it would far better if history was taught in a white-washed (pun intended) fashion where the achievements and activities of whole groups were erased or not even acknowledged so as to give a “correct” interpretation of history…also, I’m sure that there are a lot of things, like divorce, contraception, or maybe even integration, that are disturbing to certain religious people in this country, but that fact alone does not mean that we should end those things…

  17. Liberty9876 says:

    “Conservative” seems to have some funny meanings today. It apparently now means a big intrusive government that dictates the structure of the personal relationships a citizen may have. It means a big government that censors what is considers “sinful” or inappropriate material going against the 1st amendment. It means providing farmers with entitlements that encourage them not to produce. It means having a large military that occupies many soveriegn states simultaneously to forcibly promote godly democracy. Maybe we need a new term for thsoe who really want small government. Conservative can mean “we pay lip service to small government but we just the democratic sponsored government programs to be smaller, we want our ‘conservative’ government programs to be larger”