Steve G.

Where does Bob Barr stand on DOMA?

In Civil Liberties, Constitutional Rights, Libertarian Party-US, Politics on June 3, 2008 at 11:26 pm

Ah, my first blogpost on LFV! A quick hello to all and sundry.

One of the more controversial issues regarding the Barr candidacy was his stance on the ill-named Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA). I had the opportunity to sit down with Bob Barr last year and discuss, in detail, the impact of DOMA on Americans as well as the Libertarian Party platform on the issue.

Barr had been a primary author of the law, and was initially resistant to calls to renounce the law. By the time I’d spoken with Barr at the Conservative Leadership Conference in Reno in 2007, he agreed to a position identical to that of Hillary Clinton — amending the law to eliminate the federal definition of marriage, while preserving the portion allowing states to ignore other states’ marriages.

While this was suboptimal from a Libertarian Party perspective, it did represent significant evolution, and I encouraged Barr to make his position known. He seemed a bit hesitant to do so up until declaring his presidential candidacy, at which point the issue sprang out of the closet.

Jumping forward to May 2008, during his Sunday morning nomination speech at the 2008 convention, Barr appeared to call for the repeal of the law altogether. A number of delegates to the convention expressed surprise at this apparent evolution, and Outright Libertarians was only too happy to publicize Barr’s apparent change of heart. It received extensive coverage in the gay press, from local and national periodicals as well as radio and television. Dozens of undecided delegates, during the voting process, told Outright members that Barr’s apparent Sunday-morning conversion led to them making him their first or second choice.

However, we’re now getting mixed signals from the Barr campaign and Barr supporters regarding just what his position is on DOMA. Some are telling voters that Barr favors a repeal of DOMA, others are claiming his position hasn’t changed. The latter appear to be closer to the truth, if details from Barr’s recent interview with his local gay paper are to be believed.

While this represents evolution from Mr. Barr, it’s important to note that the LP platform, as implemented and amended at convention, rejects *all* government efforts to regulate or restrict personal relationships between consenting adults — including same-sex ones. It’s also disappointing to those of us on the floor who, after watching Barr’s “last word” on the issue on the convention floor, had been led to believe that he had come around to a position of full repeal.

  1. Unfortunately for Barr, both parts need to be repealed.

    The first part of the full faith and credit, which would allow states to defy each others’ acts in the marriage realm, is prima facie unconstitutional since it violates Article IV Section 1. Congress cannot legislate the ability for the states to ignore other states’ laws as a “prescribing” of how those acts are to be Proved. That would completely undermine the Founders’ intent on the Full Faith and Credit Clause, and would create a direct contradiction in the Constitution, and establish a dangerous precedent. With CA now legalizing same-gender marriages now, Article IV Section 2 also comes into play, and all states have to respect same-gender marriages since “several states” are doing it (the privileges associated with marriage).

    To quote:

    “Article IV
    Section 1. Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records, and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

    Section 2. The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”

    As for the second part, limiting marraige to opposite-gender couples is a direct violation of the First, Fourth, and Tenth Amendments: First from impairing contracts and free association, Fourth from Privacy Rights, and Tenth from the right to marry as established under Loving v. Virginia et al.

    So a partial repeal is not enough. DOMA has to go, completely.

    As a lawyer, Barr should already understand the constitutional ramifications. Ditto as an ACLU member.

  2. Welcome to LFV, Brian!

  3. the LP platform, as implemented and amended at convention, rejects *all* government efforts to regulate or restrict personal relationships between consenting adults

    Which is the Libertarian position to take… unlike Miller and her Outright Liber-Nazi circle jerk group that wants MORE government involvement.

  4. Outright Libertarians has a clear policy on this, which Mike Nelson (“disinter”) helped formulate. In fact, the policy was created by the Executive Committee there before I was even a member.

    The policy is simple — it calls for equal treatment under the law as an incremental step towards getting government out of the marriage business altogether. Eliminating government discrimination is easier in the short term than a whole-hog elimination of marriage law, and reduces the use of government as a “club to beat law-abiding Americans” (to borrow loosely from Barr’s rhetoric).

    Nobody from Outright calls for more government involvement, or indeed advocates any sort of additional government involvement. Nelson should know — he helped create the policy that I am lobbying for today!

    It’s a shame he’s allowed his near-psychotic level of hatred for a couple of people in the organization to override his common sense.

  5. Outright Libertarians has a clear policy on this, which Mike Nelson (”disinter”) helped formulate.

    I didn’t help formulate shit. Nice try though.

  6. The policy is simple — it calls for equal treatment under the law

    Correct, your little circle jerk group begs for the ability to seek permission from the government to get married so poor fags like yourself can get the welfare benefits.

    “And yet, it is to the doctrine of “equality” that many advocates of the “fairness” argument repair. Those who regard liberty and equality as synonyms – instead of understanding their contradictory, irreconcilable nature – tend to believe that, as long as an oppressive measure is forced upon all, without regard to distinctions, there is no problem. Such attitudes are generally shared by statists”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer82.html

  7. I didn’t help formulate shit.

    Sure you did. You served on the national board until your state’s members fired you.

    As for Lew Rockwell’s little rant, I again challenge someone to show me an active, well-funded lobby that fights state marriage licenses when the argument *doesn’t* involve an argument over equal treatment of gay men and women. It doesn’t exist, and the reason is because 99% of the people who use that argument only use it in opposition to gay marriage.

    The argument is also total hypocrisy because none of the people making it are actively condemning married Libertarians (or small-l libertarians). If someone condemned Ron Paul for “growing the state” by getting a marriage license, Paultards like yourself would slam them. Yet more inconsistency from you.

    poor fags like yourself can get the welfare benefits

    I’m dating a non-US national. I don’t see you, or Lew Rockwell, or Ron Paul seeking to do anything to allow me to sponsor him for immigration — something that would easily occur if DOMA is repealed (or even amended per Barr’s earlier proposal).

    Your position that allowing me to sponsor my foreign partner for immigration status is “welfare” only underscores the unlibertarian basis of your entire debate — as well as your status as the Libertarian Party’s shiniest horse’s ass. Congratulations!

  8. This discussion is what happens when you nominate someone who jumps in at the last minute, namely you discover after the fact what their opinions are.

    A competent national party leadership would have recognized this difficulty before it occurred and would not have taken actions leaning toward some candidates that made it more likely to occur.

    Having said that, I expect that the situation will get progressively more interesting as we go on, because the number of issues that can be discussed is quite large.

  9. Does anyone have a recommendation for further research surrounding the interracial marriage laws?

    What I’m getting out is how were interracial marriages performed in one state treated when the couple moved to another state that didn’t recognize them? I think there are some excellent parallels to follow from this earlier fight. I’m not a legal researcher, but what I have found has been lacking in details like these.

    If the Barr campaign were to assert that a similar strategy should be followed for same-sex marriage as for interracial marriage, I would be interested in hearing more.

  10. Sure you did. You served on the national board until your state’s members fired you.

    Oh you mean the one straight guy? Ms. Miller, I have explained to you many, many times now (I realize you retard caucus nuts are a little slow, but this is getting ridiculous) that after being asked by your circle jerk ring leader, Robbie Power-monger, I volunteered to serve in your joke of an organization. After realizing how corrupt, un-libertarian and useless your little cirlce jerk was, I wanted nothing to do with it after only 1 month. I has absolutely no interest in being associated with a bunch of nutcases.

    Now, tell me what I helped formulate and how? Nice try.

    As for Lew Rockwell’s little rant

    Lew Rockwell didn’t write it. Try pulling your bald head out of your fat ass.

    I again challenge someone to show me an active, well-funded lobby that fights state marriage licenses when the argument *doesn’t* involve an argument over equal treatment of gay men and women. It doesn’t exist

    So that is the reason the Outright Liber-Nazis advocate MORE government involvement? Your desperation is almost amusing.

    I’m dating a non-US national. I don’t see you, or Lew Rockwell, or Ron Paul seeking to do anything to allow me to sponsor him for immigration — something that would easily occur if DOMA is repealed (or even amended per Barr’s earlier proposal).

    What does this red herring have to do with the fact that you and your circle jerk advocate MORE government intervention?

  11. Does anyone have a recommendation for further research surrounding the interracial marriage laws?

    I’m taking Family Law in law school this semester. The landmark case on interracial marriage was “Loving v. Virginia”, 388 U.S. 1, where the Supreme Court held that bans on interracial marriage violate the Due Process and Equal Protection requirements imposed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The basis for this holding was the Court’s finding that marriage is a “fundamental right” (a surprisingly complex term of art). Same-sex marriage advocates have long predicted that the aptly-named Loving case will one day be the basis for overturning gay marriage bans as well, as soon as the Court recognizes the same “fundamental right” there as well.

  12. Pepe, Steve Perkins has it right on, and I’d also suggest a read of the CA and MA state Supreme Court rulings on the issue. HI’s also, but I admit I haven’t read that one yet.

  13. To Pepe Johnson,

    The Lovings were married outside Virginia, in Washington D.C. Despite being legally married elsewhere, they were arrested for violating the Virginia anti-miscegenation statutes.

    BTW, Here in California we were the first to overturn state anti-miscegenation laws, in Perez v. Sharp (1948). Los Angeles County fought ferociously for the law all the way to the California Supreme Court, and lost only by a 4-3 decision. The dissenting arguments are quite shocking in their racism, ignorance, and stupidity.

  14. I’m straight, but also think the gov’t has no business in the marriage business. My GF and I have been happily UNmarried now for over 14 years, quite deliberately – WE define the shape of our relationship, not the government, and Uncle Sam is NOT welcome in our bedroom, he isn’t our type… That said, I’m of the opinion that if the gov’t is going to have a legal status called “marriage” then it should be open to ALL regardless of genders.

    (I will leave the decision by other entities as to whether they wish to perform / recognize a non-gov’t marriage for a given couple up to them – it would not be proper to force a clergy person to perform a ceremony for a couple he did not see as theologically suited for it, that’s one reason to have competing brands of religion…)

    ART

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