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Harry Browne on Civil Rights

2000 Libertarian Nominee for President


Consenting adults should have Civil Unions, but not federal

Q: Would Browne, if elected President, sign into law or veto a bill which recognized Vermont’s “Civil Union” in all 50 states?

A: He would veto it, because that is a state and local issue to begin with. But consenting adults should be allowed to enter into any contractual relations they desire, including Civil Unions.

Source: Phone interview with Jim Babka, Browne’s Press Secretary , Aug 9, 2000

Racist hiring practices hurt companies & are self-limiting

Q: Would Browne, if elected President, sign into law or veto a bill which required the Justice Department to litigate against companies with demonstrable racist or sexist bias?

A: If you own a business you should be able to hire whoever you choose. And if you don’t, what should happen? Absolutely nothing. Race as an issue in hiring usually backfires - you’re closing off potential talent. If a company is stupid enough to follow that policy, have at it.

Source: Phone interview with Jim Babka, Browne’s Press Secretary , Aug 9, 2000

Supreme Court was right to allow Boy Scouts to exclude gays

Q: Would Browne, if elected President, support enforcing the right for gays to join the Boy Scouts?

A: Would he support it? No. The Supreme Court was correct - the Boy Scouts can set their own policy as a private organization. Harry Browne isn’t anti-gay by any means, but he would not use the federal government to enforce rules on private organizations.

Source: Phone interview with Jim Babka, Browne’s Press Secretary , Aug 9, 2000

Base federal hiring on qualifications, not race

Q: How should the federal government itself handle hiring, to establish the color-blind employee group that Browne advocates?

A: Harry Browne would not have affirmative action in government agencies. Hiring would be based on actual qualification - the most qualified person gets the job. Private agencies can do as they wish.

Source: Phone interview with Jim Babka, Browne’s Press Secretary , Aug 9, 2000

Recruiting minorities for federal positions is OK

Q: Should federal agencies actively recruit non-white males so they end up balanced, or be allowed to end up imbalanced if qualified applicants disproportionately represent white males?

A: The military already does that. In a Harry Browne administration, the military would be dramatically smaller in scope, but I don’t see minority recruitment stopping. You want to get the best people available for each position.

Source: Phone interview with Jim Babka, Browne’s Press Secretary , Aug 9, 2000

Gay marriage is up to the two individuals, not the state

Q: Your views on same-sex marriage.

A: Marriage is no business of the state whatsoever. It is between two individuals who want to do whatever they want to do, and that is up to them. As long as they’re not intruding on anybody else’s life or property, it’s nobody else’s business.

Q: But isn’t it important to recognize people as being married for tax or other governmental administrative purposes?

A: As long as the state is meddling in marriage and defining marriage, and saying that there are certain legal benefits that accrue from marriage, then it should not limit that marriage. It should not try to say that it’s only between a man and a woman. It should allow any two people who want to be married to be married. But in the final analysis, what I would prefer to see is the state not providing any legal benefits or detriments to people based on marital status. It should have nothing whatsoever to do with marriage.

Source: PlanetOut interview (planetout.com) , Jul 7, 2000

Partnership benefits for gay govt employees, but not private

Q: What about domestic partnership benefits for government employees?

A: The government is a so-called public entity. Each individual [should] decide to whom those benefits should go, rather than the government saying “these benefits can only be applied in the following situations.”

Q: What about employment discrimination protections?

A: I do not believe that the government should intrude on companies. When you give the government the power to interfere with other people’s decisions then you are giving the government the power to interfere with your decisions. So the best answer is to keep the government out of it entirely. It may mean that you -- because you’re gay, or black-may not be able to get a job at a particular company, but it does not mean you can’t get a job at any company. You just have to accept the world as it is, and that includes people who don’t think the way you do. Using the government to make those people think the way you do, is treading on very thin ice.

Source: PlanetOut interview (planetout.com) , Jul 7, 2000

President should stay out of questions of gay marriage

Q: Should gays be allowed to marry? A: Why is this a question Presidential candidates should be asked to answer? Where is marriage mentioned in the Constitution?
Source: Email correspondence from the candidate with OnTheIssues.org , Jan 27, 2000

Flag burning is protected political speech

Q: Should there be a ‘Flag Protection Amendment’? A: No. Flag burning, while reprehensible, is only a crime if the flag being burned is the property of someone else. That’s called vandalism, and should be prosecuted.
An amendment prohibiting flag burning stands in stark contrast to the 1st Amendment guarantees to protect political speech. Such an amendment would [further burden] an already clogged-up court system and blur the line of protected political speech such that only lawyers will benefit.
Source: Email correspondence from the candidate with OnTheIssues.org , Jan 27, 2000

Racism is immoral; but end affirmative action

Browne agrees that the federal government should discontinue affirmative action programs. He would “support a color blind society based on merit. Racism is immoral and inefficient such that it serves no ones self-interest.”
Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 13, 2000

Remove government power to fight victimless crimes

Victimless crimes can’t be enforced as crimes of violence can. Since there’s no victim, no one files a complaint. So the government attacks such offenses with informants, sting operations, and all the other trappings of a police state. But it doesn’t stop gambling, prostitution, and drug traffic. We must take away from government the power to prosecute victimless crimes-and render the government powerless to enter any area of your life for which it has no explicit constitutional authority.
Source: WorldNetDaily “Murdering for morality” , Jun 3, 1999

Bank rules against drugs hurt privacy

“Know Your Customer” [bank rules to fight drugs] is just one more step toward giving the government complete access to your financial affairs.Politicians [reassure us]: “If you’re not guilty, you have nothing to fear.” So you do nothing to protect yourself from snooping in your bank account, or from asset-forfeiture programs. [Until] the drug warriors swoop down on you. It is the innocent -- not the guilty -- who have the most to fear from the avalanche of laws and regulations.
Source: WorldNetDaily “Murdering for morality” , Jun 3, 1999

Federal govt should be color-blind

Browne does not believe the federal government has a role to play in preventing discrimination based on race and/or gender. “The federal government should be color-blind, and not take race or gender into account in any way in any matter.”
Source: 1996 National Political Awareness Test , May 1, 1996

No School Prayer Amendment

Browne does not support amending the Constitution to allow voluntary prayer nor a moment of silence in public schools. Browne says, “remove the federal government from education entirely.”
Source: (Cross-ref to Education) Project Vote Smart, 1996 , May 1, 1996

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Civil Rights.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Harry Browne.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Harry Browne.
Other candidates on Civil Rights: Harry Browne on other issues:
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George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)

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Page last updated: Oct 08, 2013