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Libertarian Leader Marriage an Unalienable Right

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The chairman of the Cato Institute, a Libertarian think tank, wrote in an op-ed in the New York Daily News on Thursday that recognizing marriage rights for gay couples is not only a moral obligation, but a constitutional one.

Robert A. Levy wrote that before the federal government established more than 1,000 laws to specifically protect married heterosexual couples, partnerships and marriages were not necessarily legal contracts. But now, with several states banning marriage for a class of people, and the aforementioned federal laws, the government is violating the Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment, he said.

However, local and federal governments have always legalized discrimination, he says, citing Jim Crow segregation and bans on interracial marriage.

"To pass constitutional muster, racial discrimination had to survive 'strict scrutiny' by the courts," he wrote. "Government had to demonstrate a compelling need for its regulations, show they would be effective and narrowly craft the rules so they didn't sweep more broadly than necessary. That same regime should apply when government discriminates based on gender preference."

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