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ELECTION 08: Libertarian Bob Barr now opposes DOMA, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’


WASHINGTON (BP)–Some political observers believe Libertarian presidential nominee Bob Barr could siphon off votes from Republican John McCain, but that may be less likely — particularly among social conservatives — now that Barr has stated his opposition to two key pro-family issues: the Defense of Marriage Act and the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

A former Republican U.S. representative from Georgia, Barr told Libertarian Party members at their convention in Denver in May that he now favors overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the same law he championed in 1996 and one that protects states from being forced to recognize another state’s “gay marriage.” It also prevents the federal government from recognizing “gay marriage.”

Thanks to DOMA, a majority of states have adopted laws or constitutional amendments protecting the natural definition of marriage.

“The Defense of Marriage Act insofar [as it] has provided the federal government a club — to club down rights of law-abiding American citizens –- has been abused, misused and should be repealed, and I will work to repeal that,” he said.

Barr’s position puts him on the same page with presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, who also favors repealing DOMA. McCain supports the law.

Repealing DOMA presumably would force the federal government to recognize “gay marriages” in California and Massachusetts and also could lead to every state being forced to recognize such unions. For years supporters of “gay marriage” have had a long-term goal of overturning DOMA.


Barr announced his opposition to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in a Wall Street Journal column last year. The policy prevents homosexuals from serving openly in the military. Obama also opposes the policy, while McCain supports it.

“[W]ith nearly a decade and a half of the hybrid ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy to guide us, I have become deeply impressed with the growing weight of credible military opinion which concludes that allowing gays to serve openly in the military does not pose insurmountable problems for the good order and discipline of the services,” Barr wrote.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and a former U.S. Marine, told Baptist Press last year he supports the current policy, and believes it makes common, practical sense.

“Sometimes you’ll have 100, 500 or 1,000 soldiers, sailors or Marines together in a barracks or in a ship bay, all using the same showers and bathroom facilities,” Perkins said. “When you introduce sexuality into that kind of environment, it begins to break down discipline and unit cohesion.”

OBAMA RESIGNS CHURCH — Barack Obama announced May 31 he was resigning his membership at Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, but critics say it won’t serve to erase Obama’s 20-year relationship to its longtime controversial pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Obama resigned after a visiting pastor, Michael Pfleger, drew nationwide attention for what some viewed as racist comments about Hillary Clinton and her supporters.

“We don’t want to have to answer for everything that is stated in a church,” Obama said. “On the other hand, we also don’t want a church that is subjected to the scrutiny that a presidential campaign legitimately undergoes. That is, you know, I don’t want don’t want [the current pastor] Reverend [Otis] Moss to look over his shoulder to see if the sermon vets.”

Stanley Kurtz, a columnist for the conservative National Review magazine and website, argues that Obama joined the church in the first place because he affirms its controversial elements.

“Obama’s connections to the radical-left politics espoused by Pfleger and Wright are broad and deep,” Kurtz wrote. “The real reason Obama bound himself to Wright and Pfleger in the first place is that he largely approved of their political-theological outlooks.”
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press.