Marriage-Equality Candidate Gary Johnson Ditches GOP To Seek Libertarian Party Presidential Nomination

Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, hasn’t gotten much traction in his bid to win the Republican  nomination for president. So he’s dropping out to run on a fringe ticket.

That sounds like a plan.

According to the Associated Press, Johnson, 58, will officially announce his candidacy on the Libertarian Party ticket some time next week. “He is representing a viewpoint and a viewpoint that needs to be heard and he’s going to do whatever it takes to get that done,” Johnson spokesman Joe Hunter told The AP.

That viewpoint is fairly at odds with the mainstream GOP platform: Johnson supports legalizing marijuana, maintaining strong reproductive rights for women and making marriage equality the law of the land.

As he explained on a GOProud online forum:

“As I have examined this issue, consulted with folks on all sides, and viewed it through the lens of individual freedom and equal rights, it has become clear to me that denying [marriage] rights and benefits to gay couples is discrimination, plain and simple.”

He says he’s grown frustrated with the Republican Party’s knee-jerk gay-bashing, not only because it’s hateful but because it repels moderate conservatives. Johnson told The Advocate in a recent interview:

“[The Republican candidates] don’t think this is necessarily offensive, when in fact it’s deeply offensive.

I don’t think I’m different than a lot of Americans, in that when you grow up, there’s a negative prejudice built against gays. You’re just bombarded by it. And then, in my life, I’ve come to find out that I have friends who are gay. And it makes me feel horrible that I would in any way potentially add to discrimination against them. Every single candidate talks about equality, freedom, liberty: Doesn’t that all start with a person’s right to conduct their own lives as they see fit?”

Does Johnson have a shot at winning? Hell to the no. But we applaud his taking a stand. And if he helps to split the Republican vote and secure Obama a second term, so much the better.

 Images via Ron Hill Imagery, RonPaulRevolt2008