In a rare stance about a personal choice issue, the National Libertarian Party central committee has categorized sex reassignment surgeries for minors as child abuse.
The Wyoming Libertarian Party’s leadership board, however, has refused to take a side on the issue, saying it doesn’t endorse policies that interfere in people’s family and personal lives.
Prominent Wyoming Libertarians also are split on the issue.
“We categorically oppose all sex reassignment surgeries for children,” reads a Dec. 21 tweet by the National Libertarian Party. “It’s child abuse, and no child can consent to such a thing.”
Numerous commenters to the tweet registered surprise, with many questioning whether the party still advocates “personal liberty.”
Wyoming Angle Different
Wyoming’s Libertarian Party countered the national group in a joint statement by its board, telling Cowboy State Daily in a Wednesday text that the party “opposes government interference in individual and family liberty, no matter what our personal opinions are in the matter.”
The state party clarified that it would not support legislation that criminalizes sex reassignment surgeries for children – but it also would not back legislation that supports such surgeries.
“The government is not the solution for family issues,” it said.
The state party’s adherence to parental autonomy also extends to choices about public education, vaccinations, religious practices and other areas, it said.
“We know that there are other political parties and Virginia-based special interests that love hypocrisy and benefit from a ‘liberty for me but not for thee’ attitude, but that will never be us,” it said.
‘I Do Believe In Personal Freedom’
Outspoken Wyoming Libertarians also diverged over the platform point.
Carrie Satterwhite, who unsuccessfully challenged state Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, in the general election, said the national party has it wrong on this point.
“I don’t know about the Libertarian Party, but I do believe in personal freedom, and I think what happens between you and your doctor is your own personal business,” said Satterwhite.
She also addressed a proposed bill entering the upcoming legislative session that would criminalize sex reassignment surgeries on minors as child abuse.
Child abuse is punishable in Wyoming by up to 10 years in prison.
“I don’t think people should be (considered) criminals for making their own personal choices,” she said. “That’s their battle, their choice. It’s not for us to impose on them.”
‘Perfect In The Body That You Have’
Misty Morris, a Libertarian who challenged Rep. Clark Stith, R-Rock Springs – also unsuccessfully in the general election – said sex reassignment surgeries for kids are child abuse.
“They don’t even let children decide if they can drink or smoke until they’re 21 – but they can decide what sex the child is going to be for the rest of their life as a minor?” she said. “I feel that’s the parents deciding over the child.”
Morris noted that it’s a worthy debate by both camps.
The National Libertarian Party platform advocates decriminalizing all crimes “without victims.” Morris said children can be victimized by gender ideology.
“To me it’s heartbreaking,” she said. “You’re beautiful and perfect in the body that you have. Why can’t you love it? Why are we taught that you can’t love who you are?”
The Libertarian Party is Wyoming’s third-largest political party, with 2,387 of all 302,281 registered voters statewide as of Dec. 1.
The Republican party has 233,558 registrants. There are 36,152 registered Democrats in the state and 29,653 unaffiliated voters. The fourth-largest, the Constitution Party, has 608 Wyoming registrants and there are 23 voters categorized as “other.”
No Libertarians in Wyoming legislative, statewide or congressional races won seats in the Nov. 8 general election.