Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bob Barr's a...good guy?!

To most of us on the left, particularly people in the LGBT community, Bob Barr isn't exactly what we'd call a friend. The former U.S. Rep from Georgia has apparently had a change of heart on a few things lately. Barr made his name in the House by being fervently anti-abortion, favoring the war on drugs, and of course authoring the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which banned same sex marriage nationally and effectively told states they needn't respect gay marriages performed elsewhere (which people on both sides of the aisle contend is unconstitutional). After leaving the House he went into quiet retirement... wait, no. Instead he went on what appears to be a spiritual journey and became a Libertarian. You know, the people who want the government to stop controlling things like abortion, drugs, and marriages.

In 2008 he was even nominated for President by the Libertarian Party. He must have really changed for them to love him. I'm not so sure.

However, this week he did take a big step away from nut-job-ism and wrote an editorial in the LA Times recanting his previous devotion to DOMA. He now claims (realizes may be a better word) that there is an unfair 'one sided' federalism that has unintended consequences for the nation. He further notes that then-Senator Obama was right to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006. Agreed.

Here's a quick excerpt from Barr's note in the Times:

"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.

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."

1 comment:

Emily said...

I'm all about the Libertarian Party ... I want the government to leave me alone -- and stop taking taxes from me!

[yes, I do realize that I am being a little ridiculous and whiny]