Voice for Equality: Robert A. Levy
January 08, 2010Robert Levy is the chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute and the organizer and financier behind District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court Case that established the Second Amendment as affirming an individual right to gun ownership. He is a Cato senior fellow and an author and pundit. Before becoming a lawyer, he was the founder and CEO of CDA Investment Technologies. Levy has written extensively on constitutional and libertarian topics, with articles and Op-Ed pieces having appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, National Review, Reason and many other publications. He has also made frequent television and radio appearances, and has appeared on cable and network shows including Nightline, Crossfire, The O'Reilly Factor, Hardball with Chris Matthews and The Today Show. Learn more here.
On Thursday, January 7, 2010, the day the New Jersey State Senate was to vote on a marriage equality bill, a Robert Levy Op-Ed appeared in the New York Daily News stating that recognizing marriage rights for gay couples is not only a moral obligation, but a constitutional one:
Freedom to Marry salutes Robert Levy as a Voice for Equality! Learn about other Voices for Equality here.
Thomas Jefferson set the stage in the Declaration of Independence: "[T]o secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men." The primary purpose of government is to safeguard individual rights and prevent some persons from harming others. Heterosexuals should not be treated preferentially when the state carries out that role. And no one is harmed by the union of two consenting gay people.
For most of Western history, marriage was a matter of private contract between the betrothed parties and perhaps their families. Following that tradition, marriage today should be a private arrangement, requiring minimal or no state intervention. Some religious or secular institutions would recognize gay marriages; others would not; still others would call them domestic partnerships or assign another label. Join whichever group you wish. The rights and responsibilities of partners would be governed by personally tailored contracts - consensual bargains like those that control most other interactions in a free society.
Regrettably, government has interceded, enacting more than 1,000 federal laws dealing mostly with taxes or transfer payments, and an untold number of state laws dealing with such questions as child custody, inheritance and property rights. Whenever government imposes obligations or dispenses benefits, it may not "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." That provision is explicit in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, applicable to the states, and implicit in the Fifth Amendment, applicable to the federal government. [Link]
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