The Libertarian candidate for Georgia's open U.S. Senate seat supports marriage equality, making her the only one in the race that fully backs gay marriage.
Amanda Swafford, a former Flowery Branch City Council member turned Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, says her position mirrors that of her party, which she says has backed marriage equality for decades.
"As a candidate for United States Senate, I fully support the Libertarian Party position on marriage equality," Swafford tells Project Q Atlanta.
Libertarian candidates in Georgia are often out front on LGBT issues. In 2010, the party's candidate for governor, John Monds, backed gay marriage and took part in the Atlanta Pride parade. In 2012, gay Libertarian Brad Ploeger ran for the Public Service Commission.
Swafford detailed her position on gay marriage after being asked by Project Q Atlanta in the wake of a leaked campaign memo that showed Democrat rival Michelle Nunn hoping to raise $300,000 from LGBT donors. Nunn has a nuanced position on gay marriage and as a candidate, would leave the decision on same-sex unions to the state. In 2004, Georgia voters banned gay marriage by adding a prohibition to the state Constitution.
The Republican in the Senate race, David Perdue, avoided discussing gay marriage during a tough GOP primary. But in a February interview with the Marietta Daily Journal, Perdue supported the state's gay marriage ban. Like Nunn, his position is nuanced.
As for supporting or opposing the right of same-sex Georgians to marry, Perdue said Georgians have already passed a constitutional amendment banning that action.
“As a senator, I’ve got to uphold that, so I support that, whatever the law of the land is in Georgia,” he said. “As a U.S. senator, I’m not going to get involved in state decisions like this. It’s a constitutional amendment. If that changes, then I will support that with the population.”
Swafford says she's not mincing her words on gay marriage. Her full statement to Project Q:
"The Libertarian Party has supported marriage equality since the party's founding in 1971. Surprisingly, it wasn't until 2012 that the Democrat Party added same-sex marriage to their party platform. And of course, the Republican Party has never supported marriage equality. In fact, both political parties supported the Defense of Marriage Act, which was pushed through by a GOP Congress and signed by a Democrat president. The Libertarian Party was on record opposed to DOMA from Day One. As a candidate for United States Senate, I fully support the Libertarian Party position on marriage equality."
"One of the hallmarks of my campaign for the Senate is to recognize that the fundamental role of government is to preserve our individual rights. Consequently, on issues such as marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration, or military service laws, an individual and their sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government's treatment toward them on those issues."