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.