Gary Johnson Praises DOMA Decision, Pushes Same-Sex Marriage
On Wednesday, former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, who sought the Republican presidential nomination and eventually became the Libertarian presidential nominee in 2012, weighed in on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act and insisted this would spur his efforts to support same-sex marriage in both Arizona and Florida.
“By striking down the provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that deny married gay couples the federal tax advantages, inheritance rights and other benefits granted other couples, the court essentially returned the issue of legal marriage to the states,” Johnson wrote supporters late Wednesday. “In short, if two individuals -- gay or straight -- are married in accordance with state law, the federal government must recognize that marriage, without injecting its own definition.
“While many of us envision a government that isn’t in the marriage business at all, this ruling at least removes the discrimination that DOMA had enshrined in federal law. That’s progress,” Johnson continued. “Now, the focus returns to the various states. Thirty-eight states have some kind of restriction against equal marriage, with most of those being outright bans against same-sex marriage. As a result, despite the Supreme Court’s rulings on both DOMA and California’s Proposition 8, marriage equality is not yet reality for the majority of Americans.”
Johnson noted his group, Our America Initiative, is ready to start collecting petitions in Arizona and Florida to overturn same-sex marriage bans.
“As soon as the court ruled this morning, our organizations in both Arizona and Florida began printing petition forms and heading out to gather signatures to put equal marriage on the ballot,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson indicated this would be a “huge undertaking” which would require plenty of work.
“In each of those states, we have done the legal work, we have filed the required paperwork, and we have put people in place to coordinate the efforts of activists from across the political spectrum,” Johnson wrote. “But that is just the beginning. In Arizona, we must gather roughly 400,000 signatures to ensure that our Equal Marriage Amendment will be on next year’s ballot. In Florida, we will need almost a million signatures."
Johnson’s group is working with Equality Florida to support a constitutional amendment which they hope will be on the ballot in 2014.