By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com October 17 2012 3:43 PM ET
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has decried Republican leaders in Congress for hitting the $1.5 million spending cap on the legal defense of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which is led by House speaker John Boehner, has intervened in 14 DOMA challenges in federal courts now that the Department of Justice and the Obama administration have decided to stop defending the law in court. So far, $1,447,996.73 of the allotted $1.5 million to continue defending DOMA has been spent within one year and three months, according to the Committee on House Administration. The current contract, agreed upon by the committee's chairman, Dan Lungren, specifies that spending to defend DOMA in court cannot exceed $1.5 million.
"The American people should no longer have to foot the bill for Speaker Boehner’s campaign to appease the most conservative forces within the Republican Party," Pelosi said in a statement Tuesday. "It is time for the Speaker and Congressional Republicans to drop their frivolous, taxpayer-funded lawsuits without any delay. When they do, we will all look forward to the day when DOMA is relegated to the dustbin of history once and for all."
Human Rights Campaign legislative director Allison Herwitt added that defending DOMA counters the changing tide in Americans' opinions that same-sex couples should be allowed to receive the same benefits and responsibilities as heterosexual couples.
"In poll after poll, we see that voters do not view marriage equality as a critical issue for lawmakers — likely because a good majority of the country already supports it," Herwitt said. "The American people need job creation and infrastructure improvements. Instead of focusing on the real problems that impact people’s livelihood, Speaker Boehner and House Republicans are funneling money into an issue that does nothing to improve conditions for the millions of Americans in need of help, and actually harms loving and committed same-sex couples looking to start their own families."