Republicans Pledge to Continue Defending DOMA
As Congress begins its 113th session, House Republicans have pledged to continue funding a legal effort to defend the federal law that prevents the government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
The Republican-led Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group has already spent $1.7 million paying outside legal counsel to intervene in 14 federal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act in courts since the Obama Administration and the Department of Justice decided to stop defending the law in court in 2011. Thursday, Republicans submitted language to the Opening Day Rules Package establishing that "The Bipartisan Legal advisory Group continues to speak for, and articulate the institutional position of, the House in all litigation matters in which it appears, including in Windsor v. United States."
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Windsor V. United States, a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act brought upon by lesbian widow Edie Windsor.
Drew Hammill, spokesman for Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, condemned the Republican Party's proposed language to continue funding DOMA's legal defense. He also stressed that the BLAG's actions do not speak for all members of the House.
"Today House Republicans will send a clear message to LGBT families: their fiscal responsibility mantra does not extend to their efforts to stand firmly on the wrong side of the future," Hammill said in a statement Thursday. "Republicans will take the extraordinary measure of including an authorization of their efforts to defend DOMA in the Rules of the House of Representatives and by doing so, continue to spend taxpayer funds, already adding up to $1.7 million, in their attempts to defend this shameful law in federal courts and the Supreme Court."
According to ABC News House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel, said, "We continue to believe the constitutionality of the law should be judged by the court, not the president unilaterally—and will provide the resources needed to protect our system of checks and balances."