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U.S. House approves rules affirming commitment to DOMA

CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Friday, January 4, 2013

As one of its first acts of the 113th Congress, the U.S. House on Thursday approved a set of governing rules that includes language authorizing the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend the Defense of Marriage Act against litigation in court.

By a vote of 228-196, the House voted in favor of a 23-page long resolution giving authority to the BLAG, a five-member Republican-controlled House panel which has taken up defense of DOMA since the administration stopped defending the law. The resolution allows BLAG to intervene in other cases challenging DOMA and gives authority for BLAG to speak for the House before the Supreme Court.

John Boehner
Photo: Michael Key, Washington Blade

Michael Steel, a spokesperson for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said the House approved the rules because Republicans believe DOMA’s constitutionality should be decided by the courts.

“We continue to believe the constitutionality of the law should be judged by the court, not the president unilaterally — and will provide the resources needed to protect our system of checks and balances,” Steel said.

Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), lambasted Republicans over the language and continued use of taxpayer dollars to defend DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

“House Republicans will send a clear message to LGBT families: their fiscal responsibility mantra does not extend to their efforts to stand firmly on the wrong side of the future,” Hammill said. “Republicans will take the extraordinary measure of including an authorization of their efforts to defend DOMA in the Rules of the House of Representatives and by doing so, continue to spend taxpayer funds, already adding up to $1.7 million, in their attempts to defend this shameful law in federal courts and the Supreme Court.”

Hammill took particular issue with language in the resolution saying BLAG speaks for the entire the chamber. As BLAG has defended DOMA, House Democrats have filed numerous friend-of-the-court briefs asserting the anti-gay law is unconstitutional.

In September, House Republicans signed a new agreement with former U.S. solicitor general Paul Clement to defend DOMA on behalf on BLAG. The contract, which wasn’t revealed under after Election Day, raises the cost cap to defend DOMA to $2 million.

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13 more reader comments:

  1. 228-196, right along party lines. So no, the House didn’t approve, the Republicans and Teaparty did. Bleck!

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 11:06am
  2. A-holes.

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 11:10am
  3. They have time to do this but not time to authorize money for Hurricane Sandy victims. I call bullshit

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 11:10am
  4. Ya’ll need a law to defend your marriage? No, you need a law to prohibit mine… It’s evil business to tell people who can and can’t marry…

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 11:16am
  5. Something tells me the reason they “continue to believe” that DOMA should be voted on by the courts and not the president is because the president does not agree with them.

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 11:21am
  6. Enuf already, business as usual? After the big loss you just took? We all have our eyes on you!

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 11:28am
  7. You would think that they would have more important issues than to perpetuate hate and discrimination. Once again I just don’t get Gay people who remain republicans.

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 11:31am
  8. More like Defense of $$$$$ Act. Although, that is not proven AT ALL.

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 11:35am
  9. Damn Repubicans ….. they treat their marriages like a revolving door, married to this one one minute, dissolve that, marry another, dissolve that one, and marry another one. BUT they just HAVE to tell US that we aren’t good enough, or we are making marriage a hipocracy ….. Screw them, THEY are the one’s making it a hipocracy!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 12:22pm
  10. All I can say is “idiots!”

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 12:48pm
  11. They are going to fight Marriage Equality every step of the way, but they are still going to lose.

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 1:36pm
  12. Ugh!

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 1:40pm
  13. These idiots should have their picture in the dictionary under poorest excuse for human beings.

    Posted on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 6:56pm