Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, currently running as a Libertarian Party candidate for president, lashed out at President Barack Obama in a Monday press release regarding same-sex marriage.
Referencing a New York Times report, Johnson said that Obama “gives lip service to gay equality,” but “will not support gay marriage before the election because of the opposition of African Americans, as reflected in his polling, and the need to assure maximum support from African American voters in November.”
Meanwhile, Johnson declared, Obama “sends out surrogates to imply that he will support gay marriage in a second term.”
Johnson will likely be the only presidential candidate on the ballot in all 50 states advocating for the legalization of same-sex marriage, which he refers to as a constitutional right.
Johnson alleged that Obama was involved in similar duplicity during the congressional debate over the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The policy’s repeal was approved by Congress in December 2010 after the success of a bill sponsored by Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman.
Obama “promised to repeal [the military policy] in his campaign, then dragged his feet on repealing it,” Johnson noted, “even sending the Justice Department’s lawyers into court to defend it.” After the policy’s legislative repeal, Obama cynically “claimed victory and a promise fulfilled,” he said.
Johnson also bashed former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum for his positions on gay rights issues, but praised him for being consistent.
“As for Rick Santorum, at least he is consistent. He not only opposed the repeal of DADT, he has promised to return our military to the Dark Ages and reinstate it, and claims that repealing such a discriminatory policy has somehow been ‘detrimental’ to gays,” Johnson said.
Johnson ridiculed Santorum’s “repugnant” and “insulting” claims “that legally recognizing gay marriage would be no different than legalizing polygamy, child molestation or bestiality.”
The popular Republican governor-turned Libertarian presidential candidate has the potential to attract voters displeased with the major party candidates’ positions on marijuana legalization, same-sex marriage and other issues. (RELATED: Santorum on gay marriage position: I’m just like Obama!)
Last month, several well-known gay political figures — including GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia, Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger and former Army Lt. Dan Choi — indicated that Johnson may well attract the support of gay voters in the general election.
A late December poll by Public Policy Polling showed Johnson at nine percent in a hypothetical general election contest against Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.