Gary Johnson on the Issues: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Gary Johnson on the issues, Gary Johnson abortion, Gary Johnson gay marriage


Gary Johnson is hoping to capitalize on Americans’ growing distaste for the two major party presumptive nominees and springboard the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination onto the debate stage. If he can muster 15 percent of voters in five mainstream news polls, Johnson will be allowed to debate Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump before a massive national TV audience this fall.

Johnson, a self-made millionaire who served two terms as governor of New Mexico as a Republican, has been polling in the high single digits and is poised to earn the highest vote share of a third party candidate since Ross Perot in 1996. His running mate is former Massachusetts governor William “Bill” Weld, who was named the party’s vice presidential candidate during its convention in May.

Like many Libertarians, Johnson projects himself as socially liberal, fiscally conservative and dovish on foreign policy.

Here’s a look at where he stands on the issues:

1. Johnson Supports Gay Marriage & Called It ‘a Question of Liberty & Freedom’

Gary Johnson's stance on gay marriage, Gary Johnson debate


As a presidential candidate in 2011, Johnson released a press statement officially endorsing gay marriage, citing individual freedoms and “keeping government out of personal lives.” Johnson’s statement said he “long supported civil unions” and concluded “government has no business choosing who should be allowed the benefits of marriage and who should not.”

“For a very long time, society has viewed gay marriage as a moral and, yes, religious issues. Today, I believe we have arrived at a point in history where more and more American are viewing it as a question of liberty and freedom,” his statement said.

Johnson joined a number of conservative political operatives in filing court documents in opposition to California’s Proposition 8, a statewide referendum to ban gay marriage, The New York Times reported in 2013.

In a 2010 op-ed piece in the Huffington Post titled “Let’s Finally End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” Johnson urged Congress to repeal the policy banning gays in the military. Johnson argued that the United States is one of the only significant military powers in the world clinging to such a and pointed to a national poll showing 77 percent of Americans in favor of DADT’s repeal.

“Likewise, as has been widely documented, more than twenty of our NATO allies…allow gay men and women to serve openly, and the sky has not fallen,” Johnson wrote.

2. Johnson Has Been Mostly Supportive of Abortion Rights

Gary Johnson abortion rights, Gary Johnson pro choice

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson makes a point during a discussion. (Getty)

During this campaign cycle, Johnson has continuously voiced support for abortion rights, even though he favored limiting those rights to the viability of the fetus as a presidential candidate in 2012. He opposes funding stem cell research.

Johnson told audience members during the Libertarian Party debate in April that he is pro-choice. In a June interview, Johnson told the Daily Caller he doesn’t “even want to enter into the argument.”

“I want to give women choice in dealing with that issues, period. Unbelievably difficult decision,” he told the site. I’m going to make it for a woman? Government’s going to make it for a woman? I don’t want to play a part in that role.”

Similarly, Johnson told Rolling Stone in 2011 that he supports a woman’s right to choose “up until viability of the fetus,” although public funding shouldn’t be used for abortions.

3. He Was Nicknamed ‘Governor No’ for His Propensity to Veto Spending Bills as Governor of New Mexico

Gary Johnson government spending, Gary Johnson governor of New Mexico

At a National Press Club luncheon. (Getty)

As New Mexico’s Republican governor from 1995 to 2003, Johnson earned a “B” rating from the free-market, conservative think tank, The Cato Institute, for proposals to reduce income taxes on top-earners and never increasing the cigarette tax – a move other governors, both Republican and Democrat, tackled.

Earning the nickname “Governor No” for his record-setting number of vetoes against increased government spending, Johnson instead looked for private companies to build things like highways.

Johnson line-item vetoed $5 million to expand Medicare and Medicaid in a statewide budget — a move he said he would repeat at the national level.

“I would have the federal government cut Medicare and Medicaid by 43 percent and block grant the programs [to the states] with no strings,” Johnson said in a 2011 interview with Scott Holleran. “Instead of giving the states one dollar – and it’s not really giving because there are strings attached – the federal government needs to give the states 57 cents, take away the strings and give the states carte blanche for how to give health care to the poor.”

4. Johnson Supports the Legalization of Marijuana & Was CEO of a Medical Marijuana Company

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A former CEO of a medical marijuana company, Gary Johnson said he would legalize marijuana if elected president. (Getty)

Not only does Johnson support legalizing marijuana, but he also worked for the medicinal marijuana industry – a job he stepped away from when he launched his latest presidential campaign.

Named CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Johnson wrote up the business’s mission statement: The company “believes cannabis is destined to become the next gold rush and we’re prepared to shape its future in a legal environment.”

Citing a poll which shows 56 percent of Americans believe marijuana should be legalized, Johnson told the Telegraph he is “the only one still to this day – at the level of a state governor or U.S. Congressman – who advocates marijuana legalization.

“Not one elected official at this level has agreed with the American people. Not one. Legislation is going to happen anyway and I can’t think of a bigger public policy disconnect than the one we are talking about right now,” he told the paper.

Johnson also predicts President Obama will deschedule marijuana as a Class I narcotic, removing weed from the top tier of controlled substances.

“I think every municipality has to realize that all the planes to Denver every single weekend are filled up, and they’re missing out, and Colorado is absolutely vibrant,” he told the Washington Times. “Is it due to marijuana? I think it’s a contributing factor.”

Johnson, however, told USA Today he stopped consuming pot to focus on his campaign.

“I want to be completely on top of my game, all cylinders,” he told the newspaper.

5. He’s a Regular Critic of American Military Intervention

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Johnson has taken the opportunity to condemn President George W. Bush’s ongoing “War on Terrorism” and President Obama’s escalation of drone strikes, declaring both options as unjustifiable means of war, even though during a 2011 interview on Fox News he said, “initially, Afghanistan was totally warranted.”

“When it comes to drones,” Johnson said in a November 2015 interview with Reason, “I think it makes a bad situation even worse. We end up killing innocents and fueling hatred as opposed to containing it. It just hasn’t worked.”

Since at least 2011, when he stepped on the national stage, Johnson has opposed American involvement in Iraq, Libya and Syria. Johnson has instead cited government spending, rather than terrorism, as “the biggest threat” to the country.

A previous version of this article said Johnson stopped “smoking pot” to focus on his campaign. It has been clarified that he has stopped “consuming” it.




Flip flopper. He’s quoted “Nowhere in the Constitution does it say if we don’t like a foreign leader we should go in and topple them”, then basically says we should go to war with North Korea (a country whose citizens already suffer under extreme cruelty). He’s said the govt should stay out of a woman’s right to abortion than said he’s always been against late term abortion. He only became an open marijuana supporter after becoming CEO of a medical marijuana company. And his QUOTE at the LNC wasn’t that he would of signed the Civil Rights Act, it was “I would like to think I would of signed the Civil Rights Act”. This article is trying hard to twist his flip floppiness.


Flip flop or not voting via party stances. He’s proven he’s bipartisan. He thinks for himself and votes on principal. He was pro marijuana while governor of New Mexico. As for abortion, he wants people to have their rights (hense a womans right to choose), but he should be allowed to not be a fan of it and late term abortion is a hideous and sick idea anyways.


He strikes me as honest. Finally I can vote without holding my nose.

John Hampton

Really, I won’t vote for a pro abortion candidate. Planned Parenthood kill approximately 3500 each day. Think about that. Then Libs complain about deaths by guns. What a joke.


He didn’t say he is pro-abortion. To dumb it down for you HE SAID: not his body, not governments business to say so or to financially support it. Death by guns is for mentally unstable people, you really want those mentally unstable people to REPRODUCE?!

Liberated ex-LIB

I hear that all the time: “I’m personally pro-life, but what a woman does with ‘her body’ is ‘her business'”. It was baloney when it first became the favorite cop-out slogan, and it still is baloney. The only way Johnson would not be a liar or hypocrite in this is if he would also say “I’m pro-life, but it’s not my or the government’s business if a parent (especially a mentally unstable one) wants to kill her newborn child.” Otherwise, he ain’t fooling anyone except those who want to be fooled. An honest pro-life person does not, by double-speak excuse, treat unborn less than newborn humans.


Along the same vein, I don’t want to kill 6 million Jews, but not my country, not my business.


Really, I bet you would be singing a different tune if men were in the position of having to make that decision. So easy for you to preach and judge others when really you should just keep your nose out of it!!!! That’s like me telling you that I think they should ban Viagra because you don’t need it. Right-wieners like you complain about abortions but continue to push everyone owning a gun without caring who’s hands they get into WHAT A JOKE!!! You like your own dumb comments back at you!!! BTW, no one really gives a rats ass that you won’t vote for a pro CHOICE candidate!!


I understand your viewpoint and I agree with your stance on abortion. I am pro-life but I’m voting for Gary because first of all, he stops at viability of the child. No one else has said anything remotely close. Second, we have had 24 years of republican pro-life claiming presidents and no one has even attempted to overturn roe v wade. Gary Johnson wants to defund planned parenthood. Not because he’s pro-life but because he wants the fed government out of it as an economic issue. There is no candidate that is going to do more for unborn babies than Gary Johnson.