Bob Barr reverses himself on the Defense of Marriage Act

When I heard that last year’s Libertarian Presidential candidate, Bob Barr, had reversed himself on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) I was stunned.  He wrote this abomination when he was in Congress.  However, his reversal has nothing to do with a change in his views regarding gay marriage.  Rather, Barr believes now that DOMA is an indefensible violation of state’s rights.  He is right about that – but I wish he would let go of his lingering Republicanism and embrace gay marriage too.

Barr wrote “I can sympathize with the incoming commander in chief. And, after long and careful consideration, I have come to agree with him that the law should be repealed,” in an editorial in the L.A. Times today.

Barr explained his reason for writing DOMA thusly, “The first part of DOMA, then, is a partial bow to principles of federalism, protecting the power of each state to determine its definition of marriage. The second part sets a legal definition of marriage only for purposes of federal law, but not for the states. That was the theory.”

But the theory failed, as Barr now admits, “In effect, DOMA’s language reflects one-way federalism: It protects only those states that don’t want to accept a same-sex marriage granted by another state. Moreover, the heterosexual definition of marriage for purposes of federal laws — including, immigration, Social Security survivor rights and veteran’s benefits — has become a de facto club used to limit, if not thwart, the ability of a state to choose to recognize same-sex unions.”

Barr sums up his editorial neatly, “Even more so now than in 1996, I believe we need to reduce federal power over the lives of the citizenry and over the prerogatives of the states. It truly is time to get the federal government out of the marriage business. In law and policy, such decisions should be left to the people themselves.”

Hopefully repealing DOMA will be a priority for Obama and House Leader Nancy Pelosi, as well as Senate Leader Harry Reid.


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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.