Monday, January 5, 2009

DOMA's Author Says It's Time for Repeal

Former Congressman Bob Barr (pictured), who was also the 2008 Libertarian candidate for president, continues his evolution on LGBT equality in today's Los Angeles Times. Barr, who recently reversed his position on the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban, has again re-visited his past prejudices and come to the conclusion that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) - which he authored during his time in the House - should be scrapped, too.

"In 1996, as a freshman member of the House of Representatives, I wrote the Defense of Marriage Act, better known by its shorthand acronym, DOMA, than its legal title," Barr writes in today's Times. "The law has been a flash-point for those arguing for or against same-sex marriage ever since President Clinton signed it into law. Even President-elect Barack Obama has grappled with its language, meaning and impact."

"I can sympathize with the incoming commander in chief," Barr says. "And, after long and careful consideration, I have come to agree with him that the law should be repealed."

"I've wrestled with this issue for the last several years and come to the conclusion that DOMA is not working out as planned," he says. "In testifying before Congress against a federal marriage amendment, and more recently while making my case to skeptical Libertarians as to why I was worthy of their support as their party's presidential nominee, I have concluded that DOMA is neither meeting the principles of federalism it was supposed to, nor is its impact limited to federal law."

"In 2006, when then-Sen. Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, he said, 'Decisions about marriage should be left to the states.' He was right then; and as I have come to realize, he is right now in concluding that DOMA has to go. If one truly believes in federalism and the primacy of state government over the federal, DOMA is simply incompatible with those notions."

That's welcome news, indeed. And while Barr has not endorsed marriage equality in today's op-ed, he's clearly on a journey, embracing the truly libertarian values of personal privacy and limited government intrusion into American's lives.

To read his full column in today's Times, click here.

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