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U.S. House approves anti-gay DOMA amendment to defense appropriations bill

Thursday, July 7, 2011
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The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted in favor of an anti-gay amendment to the defense appropriations bill that reaffirms the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as component of the Pentagon spending legislation.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) was approved by a vote of 248-175, and reads:

“The proposed amendment simply expresses the intent of Congress that in all military policies, regulations, programs, and matters involving benefits, funds may not be used for activities in contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act.”

“This amendment is completely unnecessary and only serves to cloud the debate over ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal by pointlessly injecting the issue of marriage equality into the conversation,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

“Since Pentagon officials have made it clear that they are bound by DOMA like every other federal agency, it’s puzzling why Rep. Foxx would question whether our military leaders understand this point. House Republican leaders seem to have no end to their desire to play politics with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people instead of tackling real problems. It will be up to the Senate to reject the House’s return to using LGBT Americans as a wedge issue,” he said.

The appropriations bill differs from the defense authorization bill in that the appropriations bill confers budget authority on federal agencies.

The House version of the defense authorization bill contained a similar amendment reaffirming the Defense of Marriage Act, and two other anti-gay measures. The Senate Armed Services Committee, however, dropped those provisions in its version of the legislation.

On July 8, 2010, a federal judge struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional.

The Obama Administration has stopped defending DOMA in federal court, although the House GOP leadership has since taken steps to defend the law.

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