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Government has No Role in Blocking Gay Marriages
Libertarian Party Press Release
by Rick Tompkins, 1996 Candidate for President
July 1996

As the national headlines reflected the manufactured tempest over the mayor of San Francisco telling the president to “stay away” after he reversed himself on the issue, Rick Tompkins, candidate for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, condemned the grandstanding of both Bill Clinton and Bob Dole on the subject of “gay marriages.”

“The federal government has no business interfering in the personal affairs of individuals who want to publicly announce they’ve formed an association,” Tompkins said.

Rick Tompkins is married and has raised six children — some of them adopted — but insists the government only inflames existing prejudices when it interferes to either subsidize or penalize conventional marriage.

“At one time, inter-racial marriages were forbidden in most states. Even today, Mormons who practice polygamy are subject to arrest,” the candidate said. “Common law marriages are recognized in many states, while in other states ‘anti-cohabitation laws’ remain on the books. And we won’t even get into the high regard in which most folks now hold our wise and efficient divorce courts. This is not exactly an area where government intervention has done itself proud.”

Asked about the role of religious beliefs in the institution of marriage, Tompkins insisted that re-privatizing marriage would make the religious component stronger.

“Our politicians today are getting more and more desperate to dig up new fears and scandals, all to keep us distracted from the real issue — the way they keep raising taxes to hire more police and regulators to strip away our liberties,” Tompkins said. “They’ve gotten to the point where they make a huge show of sneering at action movies they haven’t seen, criticizing fictional TV characters for getting pregnant, and trying to censor an Internet that 98 senators out of 100 couldn’t log on to if their lives depended on it.

“It’s not much different for these con men and bunko artists to whip up fears and ancient prejudice by pretending to debate whether homosexuals should be ‘allowed’ to marry one another.”

People should “think about that word,” Tompkins said. “Who’s going to do the ‘allowing,’ and how were they delegated the power to make that decision?”

Marriage started out as a sacrament of the church, said the four-time former chairman of the Arizona state Libertarian Party, who gave up his job hosting a Libertarian talk-radio show host last year to run full-time for his party’s presidential nomination. “Churches are private, voluntary associations,” said the 20-year Air Force veteran, who’s been campaigning full-time since last summer. “In this great nation, with our well-established freedom of religion, no government, no candidate, should even hint that he intends to tell an individual church or temple or congregation whether they should allow gay people to enter into their sacraments of matrimony. That’s up to them.”

In modern times, the concept of “state marriage” has been superimposed over the old sacrament of religious marriage, Tompkins pointed out, “to help an ever-more-intrusive government decide who’s responsible for seeing the children submit to mandatory government schooling, so the courts can more easily decide the division of assets, and so forth.

“But that’s not a religious matter,” said the former national spokesman for the Fully-Informed Jury Association. “It involves the routine duty of the county clerk to record a private arrangement, the same way the clerk records the transfer of the deed to a home. The clerk isn’t expected to inquire whether the person buying the home is of the ‘right’ race or leads the ‘right’ kind of sex life, and he or she has no more business asking any such questions before recording a marriage.

“As a Libertarian, it’s my hope that someday such government sanction of marriages will be less and less important,” added Tompkins, who serves on the board of directors of the Arizona School Choice Trust, arranging private scholarships so poor children can attend non-government schools. “Once government is pried away from its monopoly on education, for example, it will be no business of the state to inquire who’s educating our children. “In that way, one step at a time, Libertarians hope to prune away all the government interventions into our private lives which supposedly ’necessitate’ the state keeping track of who’s married to whom, in the first place. And believe me, that will benefit religious freedom, too,” Tompkins said.

“But today, in the world as we find it, real people are suffering if the state refuses to record their marriages. I don’t find there’s such an excess of love and commitment in this world, or that any of us enjoys such a certain moral superiority to our brothers and sisters, that we can decide for them what path their lives should take. I fail to see what’s charitable or compassionate about arguing that any sincere expression of love or concern or mutual commitment should be banned by an all-powerful state.”

“Church and state must be separate,” Tompkins concluded. “Gay marriages must be allowed.”

Original text may be found at:

Please see our article: “Defense of Marriage Act” - Description and the Bill’s Text

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