DOMA Author Bob Barr Says Act Should Go

Federal laws grow old; they outlive their intentions. Or so says, Bob Barr, the author of the Defense of Marriage Act, who, just one day after the conclusion of the SCOTUS oral argument on the statute’s constitutionality, announced his objective for a return to Congress.

Should we be skeptical? Yes. Is such an announcement perfectly timed? Absolutely. As most millennials have acknowledged in the wake of their ability to vote, politicians are consistently making promises they can’t keep; they paint a picture of a world we want to see, with no real intention to make it so. Barr, now known as “Blah” to some for his inconsistencies with his political pledges, may just be one of the shining epitomes for such a case. 

The unfortunate fact of the matter, however, is that we will never know Barr’s real intention until he is elected and has the ability to help make the changes he now states are necessary. Still, the question remains: has DOMA really outgrown its intentions? Baffled by the question on a prima facie basis, one must inquire further: were the intentions of DOMA ever really substantiated? The confusing linguistics of Barr’s logic on same implies that the constitutionality of the statute was warranted in 1996. The language used by Barr would imply that DOMA was a necessary facet of law over 15 years ago, but that now, in the year 2013, the law no longer serves its purpose. These ideas beg the question: what was such a purpose?  As Barr claims the DOMA’s intentions are now currently somewhat different, what makes them so, besides from the overgrowing public outcry for equality? What now makes society safe from burning, whereas the family unit’s livelihood was at extreme stake, as described by Barr in 1996?

Barr contends, in a sense, that the statute has now outlived its purposefulness due to the majority of citizens who now call out for the contrary. Is that truly the only “purpose” you can come up with, Barr, for the nullification of DOMA? How about we talk about the basic societal functions of human rights? What about equality as a function of life quality? No? Okay, then.

Sadly, one can only contend that the purposefulness of Barr’s contemporary stance on marriage equality has a direct relation to his overall public approval rating. It appears that “Blah” Barr has proven steadfast to his wavering stance in values in a conscientious attempt to stay relevant and aligned with public opinion.

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Nicole D'Amore

Public Policy Graduate Student, Philosophy Major, Working in Law

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