Friday, February 09, 2007

Better late than never

Back in December, I posted about some "controversial stuff" that had just happened within the Libertarian Party, but said that I would hold my tongue (and ask Outright's other bloggers to do the same) until I had a chance to speak personally with the man at the center of the controversy.

Well, the man was Bob Barr, former Congressman from Georgia and sponsor of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). And the controversy was that he was appointed in a highly questionable manner as the Southeast Regional representative to the Libertarian National Committee, despite the fact that he still supports DOMA, while the Libertarian Party has officially called for DOMA's repeal. He also was public enemy number one of the Libertarian party just five years ago due to his total support for the Drug War (and vote in favor of the Patriot Act).

And we've now talked. It took more than six weeks since I first contacted his office in December, but he finally spoke with me on the phone for 15 minutes on Monday. And he's just as against equal rights for LGBT people as he always was. He's apparently budged an inch or two on the Drug War and apparently even regrets voting for the Patriot Act, but for his past anti-gay legislation and rhetoric, he offers no apologies.

So, it's time for the Libertarian Party leaders who recruited Bob Barr and very publicly welcomed him to the LNC with the biggest fanfare the Party could muster to clarify that this appointment does not represent the LP's abandonment of its decades-old gay-friendliness. And this coming week, February 11-17, National Freedom to Marry Week, is the perfect time to make that public statement of equally large fanfare in favor of marriage equality.

Please use this link to ask decision makers at the Libertarian Party headquarters in D.C. and on the Libertarian National Committee to publicly restate the Party's commitment to equal rights under the law for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. They took great pains to welcome Bob Barr to the Party, with press releases, blog posts, and nearly half of the latest LP News, in addition to open letters from the LNC Chair to the membership. They should expend just as much effort reassuring lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender voters that Libertarians still defend their equal rights to marry, adopt children, and serve openly and honestly in the military and in other taxpayer-funded jobs, despite having the author of DOMA serving on our National Committee.