House Republican leaders Boehner, Cantor, and McCarthy won a Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) committee vote moments ago that will authorize the U.S. House of Representatives to defend DOMA, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, in federal court, after the president last month announced he would no longer defend the unconstitutional law.
Two Democrats, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Steny Hoyer, voted against defending the law.
Speaker Boehner issued a statement saying, “Today, after consultation with the Bipartisan Leadership Advisory Group, the House General Counsel has been directed to initiate a legal defense of this law,” falsely adding, “This action by the House will ensure that this law’s constitutionality is decided by the courts, rather than by the President unilaterally.”
Contrary to what some, like NOM’s Maggie Gallagher have recently claimed, the House will be spending additional U.S. tax dollars on these court cases. Currently, there are nine federal challenges to DOMA.
This is an especially volatile decision, and expect many organizations to be flooding email inboxes with requests for donations.
Six leading House Democrats just issued a joint statement condemning the vote, calling it “partisanship at its worst,” and adding, “[w]e are extremely disappointed that the House Republican Leadership has decided to actively promote and defend discrimination; and they cannot cloak their intentions with the false assertion that the President or DOJ have failed to execute the law faithfully.”
Others, such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued this statement:
“With at least nine cases challenging the constitutionality of DOMA, spanning three appellate courts and four district courts in six states, today’s vote sets up an expansive and expensive undertaking.
“Apparently, the Republicans’ jobs plan is a full employment project for right-wing lawyers bent on defending discrimination,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “With today’s vote, Speaker Boehner has made clear that an anti-equality agenda trumps helping American families in tough economic times, including loving and committed couples who are legally married in their states.”
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