March 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Bob Barr to keynote Log Cabin convention

The author of the Defense of Marriage Act who has since come out for repeal of the anti-gay law is set to headline the upcoming national convention for the Log Cabin Republicans.

In a statement to the Washington Blade on Tuesday, Log Cabin announced that former Congressman Bob Barr would be the keynote speaker for the organization’s 2011 national dinner, which is set to take place at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas on April 30.

R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin’s executive director, called Barr’s attendance at the dinner “living proof that Republicans are becoming more inclusive, and doing so for conservative reasons.”

“As a freshman member of Congress in 1996, Barr wrote DOMA,” Cooper said. “He has since come to the conclusion that ‘DOMA’s language reflects one-way federalism’ and that the law ‘has become a de facto club used to limit, if not thwart, the ability of a state to choose to recognize same-sex unions,’ contrary to the traditional Republican respect for states’ rights, and that DOMA should be repealed.”

Passed by Congress in 1996, DOMA prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Both President Clinton, who signed the bill into law, and Barr have since come out in favor of repealing the law.

Cooper added that Barr’s new stand on DOMA demonstrates “what a real evolution on marriage looks like” — presumably a dig at President Obama’s remark that his lack of support for same-sex marriage could “evolve” into a endorsement — and said Log Cabin looks forward to hearing the former lawmaker’s remarks at the convention.

“As evidenced by the last election, in which gay and lesbian support for Republicans nearly doubled and independent voters helped sweep a GOP majority into office, inclusion can and does win,” Cooper said. “Log Cabin will continue to work to expand the base of the Republican Party, all the while gaining new allies in the fight for freedom.”

Barr served as a Republican congressman representing Georgia in the U.S. House from 1995 to 2003. Following his retirement from Congress, Barr left the GOP and joined the Libertarian Party. In 2008, Barr was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for president, but captured less than 1 percent of the popular vote during the election.

In addition to coming out for repeal of DOMA, Barr in 2003 testified before Congress against the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have made a ban on same-sex marriage part of the U.S. Constitution. The measure failed to pass in Congress in 2004 and 2006.

According to Log Cabin, other guests at the national convention are set to include FOX News contributor Margaret Hoover and gay former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

1 Comment
  • I’ve argued for years now that the Defense of marriage Act and all state laws that restrict marriage to opposite-gender couples all violate not only the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws (the basis for federal Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling against California’s Proposition 8 and the Supreme Court’s landmark 1967 ruling that struck down laws barring interracial marriages), but also uniquely constitutes a government endorsement of anti-gay religious doctrines in clear violation of the Religious Test Clause of the Constitution (Article VI, Section 2) — Not to mention the Establishment of Religion Clause of the First Amendment.

    That no one else has used the separation-of-church-and-state argument against these laws is utterly astounding to me.

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