Gary Johnson Denounces “Family Leader Pledge”

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

Think any other GOP candidate will have the guts to do this?

Presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson charged today in a formal statement through his campaign that the Family Leader “pledge” Republican candidates for President are being asked to sign is “offensive to the principles of liberty and freedom on which this country was founded”.  Governor Johnson also plans to further state his position against the Family Leader pledge this afternoon in Las Vegas, NV at a speech he will deliver at the Conservative Leadership Conference.

Johnson went on to state that “the so-called ‘Marriage Vow” pledge that FAMILY LEADER is asking Republican candidates for President to sign attacks minority segments of our population and attempts to prevent and eliminate personal freedom.   This type of rhetoric is what gives Republicans a bad name.

“Government should not be involved in the bedrooms of consenting adults. I have always been a strong advocate of liberty and freedom from unnecessary government intervention into our lives. The freedoms that our forefathers fought for in this country are sacred and must be preserved. The Republican Party cannot be sidetracked into discussing these morally judgmental issues — such a discussion is simply wrongheaded. We need to maintain our position as the party of efficient government management and the watchdogs of the “public’s pocket book”.

“This ‘pledge’ is nothing short of a promise to discriminate against everyone who makes a personal choice that doesn’t fit into a particular definition of ‘virtue’.

I actually didn’t see this particularly nasty bit from that pledge:

“Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”

Set aside the tone-deafness and holy crap offensiveness for a moment—is this even historically accurate?

Anyway, I do disagree with Johnson on one point. He says the pledge is “unrepublican.” Unfortunately, for about the last 30 years, this kind of thing has been all too Republican.


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61 Responses to “Gary Johnson Denounces “Family Leader Pledge””

  1. #1 |  B-Rob | 

    # 42 — You wrote “I don’t think anyone would seriously argue that it’s impossible for a child to be raised by a single-parent household and still come out okay. On the other hand, if 2% of children raised in stable 2-parent households go bad, while 10% of children raised in single-parent households go bad, wouldn’t that suggest that the promotion of stable 2-parent families would be a good thing?”

    I have an acquaintance, a Black female physician. She lives in a $300,000 brick four bedroom house, drives only Saabs, and sent her only son to private school from age four. She never married her son’s father, who is also a physician. What do you think the odds are that that kid would end up “going bad”? Slim and none, statistically speaking. Why? Because of money.

    The reality is that single parent children in wealthy households do not become criminals; but kids from impoverished two parent households do. To de-link socioeconomic status from the entire discussion of illegitimacy is a big no no.

  2. #2 |  Kristen | 

    o do that though, he’s gotta run as a libertarian or an independent.

    What, you do have write-ins in New York?

  3. #3 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    “FAMILY LEADER” (typical moralfag shouty allcaps) sounds a lot like a bunch of shitheads who need their servers destroyed after some nice cock-shots are displayed on their front page.

    GT is concise and to the point!

  4. #4 |  Carrington Ward | 


    Not only might slavery have ‘degraded the morals’ of the slaves, it also encouraged debauchery amongst the slave-holders:

    Nb. the system was one in which a slave-owner benefited from ‘high fertility rates’ amongst his slaves. So there was an economic incentive toward something that latter-day southerners would term ‘miscegnation’ and inter-racial reproduction. Or that we might term sexual slavery and institutionalized rape.

    Family Leader really didn’t want to go there — family ‘structures’ in the slave were ‘biblical’ in the worst sense of the term.

  5. #5 |  dude | 

    I consider myself to be a ‘liberal,’ not a ‘democrat,’ and I must say that if it were to come to an election of Johnson vs Obama, I would be ecstatic for the victory of either candidate and, given further research, may even lean over to the Johnson side (I don’t know enough to say for sure).

  6. #6 |  albatross | 

    B-Rob #50:

    Illegitimacy rates went *way* up across the society from 1960 to 1990 or so, where they more-or-less stabilized. (Hispanics’ rates haven’t stabilized, but the population has changed massively due to immigration–the hispanic population of 1990 isn’t the same one as is being polled in 2005.) Blacks have been up in the high sixties/low seventies since 1990, I think. Whites have been in the high twenties/low thirties for that same time.

    For the rest of your comment, and the next one, you need to distinguish between one person and a distribution from which that person is drawn. The average college or pro basketball player is quite tall–much taller than the surrounding population. And yet, there are relatively short guys who are good enough to play college basketball, and quite tall guys who aren’t basketball players. You don’t refute the claim that basketball players are taller than non-basketball-players by finding me Nate Robinson (5’9″) and Paul Volker (6’7″) and pointing out which one is better at basketball.

    A related idea is correlation. If two variables are positively correlated, then they tend to move together in a linear way, but this is statistical. Height and weight correlate–taller people tend to be heavier–even though the world has 6’5″ beanpoles and 5’3″ roly-polys.

    So, yes, there are *wonderful* single mothers, and *horrible* married parents. And many people come out of very hard conditions and do okay, while others come out of ease and comfort to make a wreck of themselves. But finding a few examples of kids from unmarried mothers that did fine, or kids from married mothers who didn’t, doesn’t contradict the claim that kids of unmarried mothers do worse on average. To contradict that claim, you need to collect data on a large representative sample of children of married and unmarried mothers, and then see what the differences are in outcomes. (And then you can have all kinds of fun trying to correct for confounding variables….)

  7. #7 |  Mary | 

    Apparently, that icky slavery part has been removed from the pledge. Not, of course, before Bachmann and Santorum signed it though.

  8. #8 |  Sheldon Richman | 

    “is this even historically accurate?”

    I was wondering that too. But on TV everyone is too busy being offended. Does anyone have any facts?

  9. #9 |  Deoxy | 

    I have to say that I simply don’t see the offensiveness of the statement. At all.

    If it’s a complete lie, then THAT is offensive, but if it’s even close (the rate is similar instead of one or the other being noticeably worse), the point still stands. If racial slavery – a terrible, offensive, evil thing that we are agree was terrible and did terrible things to black people – did less damage (or even “merely” comparable) to the family structure of those being enslaved than modern policies, that is a serious and frightening point.

  10. #10 |  albatross | 


    Yeah, I don’t exactly get the offensive part, though I’m not clear on how anyone has enough data on the family lives of slaves to know what the unwed parent rates or whatever were.

    What seems very clear is that traditional family structure has taken a huge hit in our society, especially among blacks, but also among everyone else. At a guess, most of this is probably outside the realm of practical government action.

  11. #11 |  BK753 | 

    Gary Johnson is a breath of fresh air… not just in the GOP preliminaries, but in American politiucs in general right now. I’m dumbfounded by why he isn’t polling higher. Read his views: he is a candidate for everyone. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal… his “radical” ideas about reforming American education are dead-on! I’m a diehard Independent, but would vote for Gary Johnson in a half-a-heartbeat.