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Boehner calls for House group to defend Defense of Marriage Act

Friday, March 4, 2011

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner announced Friday that the U.S. House would take some action to defend the federal law that prohibits recognition of same-sex marriages. Meanwhile, at least three bills were introduced this week to either defend or expand the reach of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Rep. John Boehner

Boehner’s statement did not specify what the House would do to defend the DOMA. It said only that he would convene a meeting of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group “for the purpose of initiating action by the House to defend this law….”

“It is regrettable that the Obama Administration has opened this divisive issue at a time when Americans want their leaders to focus on jobs and the challenges facing our economy,” said the statement.

“The constitutionality of this law should be determined by the courts — not by the president unilaterally — and this action by the House will ensure the matter is addressed in a manner consistent with our Constitution.”

In fact, the Department of Justice made clear, when it announced it would no longer defend DOMA in court, that it was up to the courts to make the final determination of whether the law is constitutional. The administration also made clear it intended to continue enforcing the law until the law is determined to be unconstitutional by the courts.

While Boehner (R-Ohio) said last week he had a number of options on the table concerning DOMA, the announcement that he was calling a meeting of the Advisory Group suggests a somewhat measured response given the level of vitriol on the conservative right concerning DOJ’s decision.

One Republican congressman from Arizona, Trent Franks, said “absolutely” when a blogger from the liberal think tank Think Progress asked him whether he supported an idea from Newt Gingrich President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder over their decision.

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) introduced a bill (HR 875) March 2 to prevent any federal court from deciding “any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution” of DOMA. The bill has 13 sponsors, including four members of the Texas delegation (Reps. Joe Barton, Ralph Hall, Jeb Hensarling, and Ron Paul), and one member of the Florida delegation (Rep. Dennis Ross).

Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia introduced a bill (HJ Res. 45) to amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit the U.S. Constitution and the constitution of any state from recognizing marriages other than “a man and a woman.” The bill has 21 co-sponsors, including Reps. Joe Barton, Louie Gohmert, Randy Neugebauer of Texas, Rep. Phil Gingrey and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, and Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida.

And Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas introduced a bill (HRes. 143) directing the Speaker to take “any and all actions necessary” to defend DOMA. The bill has 26 co-sponsors, including Reps. Bill Flores and Pete Olson of Texas, Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia, Rep. Dan Lungren of California, Reps. Donald Manzullo and Joe Walsh of Illinois, and Reps. Jeff Miller, Richard Nugent and Steve Southerland of Florida.

The Advisory Group, noted the Speaker’s press release, is a five-member panel consisting of the House Speaker, the Majority and Minority Leaders, and the Majority and Minority Whips.

“Under House rules, the advisory group has the authority to instruct the non-partisan office of the House General Counsel to take legal action on behalf of the House of Representatives,” noted the press release.

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26 more reader comments:

  1. DISLIKE.

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:13pm
  2. The Republicans are bored.. They got elected so forget about all that silly talk about addressing unemployment and the economy.. They would rather waste time and the dear taxpayer’s money defending something that was never under any kind of attack..

    Welcome to the Republican Revolution.

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:14pm
  3. Maybe he should form a group in defense of his poor judgement and his inability to do his job well

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:16pm
  4. Were are the jobs Agent Orange?

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:17pm
  5. DISLIKE…..

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:18pm
  6. AND I QUOTE: “It is regrettable that the Obama Administration has opened this divisive issue at a time when Americans want their leaders to focus on jobs and the challenges facing our economy,” said the statement.

    Seriously??? THEN FOCUS ON JOBS AND CHALLENGES FACING OUR ECONOMY!!! What the hell does it matter who is married?? Does that affect jobs? Foreign trade? Homeland security? Wall Street? NO! It just ties up court and meetings to address something that could just be easily fixed. LET EVERYONE MARRY WHO THEY WANT! Does this somehow hurt anyone? Will there be less jobs because same-sex marriages occur?? OMG. This country has its head up its own ass.

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:20pm
  7. But he cries good on national television.. Get him a spot on the Soaps..

    Those are always really big on defending marriage..

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:21pm
  8. how is it exactly that Marriage needs to be defended? Who is out to ruin it? Last time I heard, people want Marriage Equality, they want to be part of the same thing only half of the citizens of this country get to enjoy. So this whole “Defense of Marriage” thing, sounds like it should be called “Selfish Marriage Act”. Thats what I think.

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:29pm
  9. If ignorance is bliss, these people are the happiest ass people in the universe. WHEN DO I GET TO VOTE ON YOUR MARRIAGE?

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:31pm
  10. and in other news, 3 conservative republican house members who have defended DOMA were spotted around town with a high profile escort , trying to score a whore via naked pic swap.com and playing cat n the fiddle with the underage babysitter, respectively. *sarcasm*

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:39pm
  11. they need to bundle gay rights/ equal rights to tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that would get the right to passing it quickly

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:39pm
  12. I guess bohner has to be erect with all this excitement regarding LGBT inequality.

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:51pm
  13. Representative Boner is an idiot.

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 10:58pm
  14. I sure don’t like this fella representing my state with hate. Boo!

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 11:21pm
  15. hes just the figurehead,, we all need to boycott the companies that donates to him, fastest way to a politician is his campaign fund, call them, protest in front of there headquarters,etc;

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 11:30pm
  16. With a name like Boehner you’d think he’d be all for it :D

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 11:32pm
  17. Angry conservatives give me a Boehner

    Posted on Friday, March 4, 2011 at 11:51pm
  18. Pfffahaha.. Boehner. (I’m totally just mocking the immaturity of politics and not just scrounging up a reason to type words that sound like an erection..)

    Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 12:02am
  19. Whatever happened to all this Tea Party bullshit about “small government”? It was just that. Bullshit to get elected..
    Now they refocus on what they really want. Government telling people how to live, whom to love, whom to live with and sleep with..

    Oh but they will l pick up the “Small Government” banner again for some “Unfinished Business”:

    Get the black guy out of the Oval and back into the Servants’ Quarters

    Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 12:07am
  20. All of the republicans will tell you during there campain. That government is the problem lol see where there at. And what the real plan was.

    Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 1:29am
  21. @Miki: it’s kind of hard to tell which side you are on. Put the black guy out of office and back into the servants quarters? Please tell me that was sarcasm.

    If not you have pretty narrow views. Not liking the president is one thing. But why put a racial label attached to it? Are you better than the half of him that is black? Honestly Obama or any other president would have had a hard time digging the country out of this financial slump. Now with republicans running the show, we can expect more railroading of all matters that are not relevant to our country, but religious or personal views. We are not governed by religion here. So stop the BS, it’s inevitable. Gay rights are civil rights.

    If it is ok for Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church to spew hate to gay people, fallen soldiers, and America in general because of freedom of speech, why take away equality and freedom of love and marriage?

    WARPED, government!!! Use that brain.

    Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 4:19am
  22. our ancestors fled to this country to be rid of religious persicution to be free and be who we are. im just not feeling that and we the people need to stand up for freedom,our soldiers do it everyday we need to at home as well.egypt libia they started to fight there gonernment for wat they want,i hope we wont have to do the same.

    Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 5:30am
  23. Jerk

    Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 6:13am
  24. there more important things to worrie about BONER…. lol

    Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 6:40am
  25. send his ignorant a@@ back to Ohio

    Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 7:17am
  26. I knew a conservative national republican politician who served in Congress and was a member of the presidents cabinet. I asked him what he thought about gay rights. I expected the party line. What he said was he did not care what people did in the bedroom, what he was concerned about was that they had a bedroom to do it in, referring to the economy at that time. I thought that is the right way to be thinking when he said that.
    I thought being conservative meant leaving people alone and letting them to decide for themselves. Today it seems to be all about messing with people and telling them how to live and passing judgments. That in a nutshell is what is wrong with the republican party and the “conservative” movement today.
    What I do is no ones business. How is that for conservative thought?

    Posted on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 7:58am