In a statement released Tuesday, Libertarian presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson urged Minnesota voters to defeat a proposed state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The Minnesota Same-Sex Marriage Amendment, referred to voters by the legislature, would define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Stating his opposition to the amendment, Johnson said, "Just last week, a federal court in New York ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional -- and that was the correct decision. Denying committed couples the right to marry under the law is discrimination, plain and simple. While different faiths may choose not to perform or recognize same-sex marriage, the government has no business deciding who should be allowed to marry.
"While as a former governor, I am a staunch supporter of States' Rights, when it comes to what I firmly believe is a constitutionally protected right to equality, the states have no right to discriminate. I do not agree with President Obama that the federal government should defer to states, allowing them to choose to deny their residents the equal right to marry.
"I hope Minnesota voters will reject this attempt to enshrine discrimination in their state's Constitution, and urge them to reject Amendment 1.
"As a Libertarian, I believe there is much that government does and tries to do to interfere in our personal lives that it simply has no business doing. I am proud to join with Minnesota Libertarians in taking a stand against discrimination and the idea that government should be imposing moral values on free people.
"I also commend Minnesotans United for All Families for their leadership in opposing Amendment 1. The breadth and width of the coalition that has joined to protect equality is truly gratifying, and I am pleased to join with that coalition in this very important battle."