Ten LGBT and progressive organizations have just sent a letter to the three top Republican lawmakers in the House demanding they stop “harming LGBT people” by spending taxpayer dollars defending DOMA. DOMA is the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, and John Boehner has secretly allowed Congress to spend up to $2 million — which likely will increase — defending the anti-gay law in court, despite the fact that Boehner’s hand-picked outside legal defense has lost every DOMA case he’s tried.
“Despite the enormous economic challenges our country is facing, the House of Representatives recently decided to increase government spending to defend this discriminatory law – a law that intentionally harms thousands of Americans who are legally married,” the letter, reproduced in full, below, reads.
Exit polls from last month’s election indicate that the economy was overwhelmingly the number one concern for voters, with nearly 60 percent saying it was the most important issue facing lawmakers. The deficit and foreign policy also proved top of mind for voters, 34 percent of whom said their financial situation was worse off today than it was four years ago. To that end, a 2004 report from the Congressional Budget Office estimates federal individual income and estate tax revenues would actually increase $700 million per year if DOMA did not mandate the nonrecognition of marriages of same-sex couples.
At the same time, voters in three states approved marriage equality and, in Minnesota, rejected writing a marriage ban into their state’s constitution. A strong majority of Americans support marriage for loving, committed same-sex couples – including an increasing number of conservatives. With more states allowing committed same-sex couples to obtain civil marriage licenses, DOMA imposes burdens on hard working, tax paying citizens. There’s no good reason to treat couples who have taken on the commitment of marriage as single, and deny them spousal protections like Social Security survival benefits, family health and federal pension benefits, and the ability to take unpaid leave to care for a sick or injured spouse.
The letter adds the majority of Americans “oppose DOMA and the Republicans’ defense of it in court.”
The Human Rights Campaign, Outserve-SLDN, the Center for American Progress, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund are among the ten organizations who sent the letter:
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