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Democrats criticize GOP support of Defense of Marriage Act

Thursday, March 28, 2013

WASHINGTON — The cost to taxpayers for a House Republican decision to fund the legal team supporting the Defense of Marriage Act has climbed from $500,000 to as much as $3 million, Democrats say in questioning the GOP stance on the gay marriage issue now before the Supreme Court.

“It’s really disappointing and unworthy of a subject that is going before the Supreme Court of our country,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday, referring to Republicans spending that money without input from House Democrats.

Pelosi made the comments after emerging from the court hearing on whether to strike down parts of the 1996 law that denies married gay couples the federal benefits available to other couples.

She said Democrats had no input in several modifications to the legal contract that has increased the ceiling for spending on the legal defense of DOMA from the initial $500,000 to $3 million.

Shortly after the administration of President Barack Obama in early 2011 declared that DOMA was not constitutional, House Republicans convened a meeting of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group and, according to Pelosi, used their 3-2 majority to authorize funds to defend the law.

Pelosi said the advisory group held no more meetings on the issue and that Republicans acted on their own to increase the funding ceiling as the case dragged on. Paul Clement, one of Washington’s most prominent attorney’s was hired to argue the case for DOMA supporters.

“Again, $3 million speaks very loudly, especially $3 million that has gone forth without benefit of a vote in the so-called Bipartisan (Legal) Advisory Group,” Pelosi said.

House Speaker John Boehner, at a news conference last week, defended the GOP role in the lawsuit, saying that Congress passed the law in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed it, “and in our system of government, the administration doesn’t get to decide what’s constitutional. The Supreme Court does. And our financing the lawsuit was to make sure that the proper forum was used to make sure that we know what’s constitutional and what isn’t.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., at a recent Appropriations subcommittee hearing on congressional budgets, also questioned why the House was spending up to $3 million to defend DOMA when the personal staff budgets of House lawmakers were being cut 8.2 percent because of automatic budget cuts.

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9 more reader comments:

  1. Well that is all fine and dandy…it irritates me too…but, Democrats could have repealed DOMA when they were in the majority and they chose not to…so their hands are not quite clean in this whole mess either.

    Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 1:22pm
  2. They like to pretend they are so that people who support gay rights keep voting for them though c;

    Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 1:23pm
  3. Why?

    Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 1:31pm
  4. Ashlyn: Well, they’re the best option, at the moment. I hardly expect any politician to be exactly on my every page! I love this smiley of yours, though – expect to see me stealing it!

    Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 1:34pm
  5. i don’t think they could have, Randy. though there was a majority of dems, there were enough of them against marriage equality that it would not have passed. i hate that we have to pay equal taxes for unequal representation and worse, that our taxes go to these idiots to fight for DOMA. grrr

    Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 1:38pm
  6. It’s a double edged sword here. While yes, it might be costing a lot of money, it’s pennies compared to the cost of a ten year war that broke the budget over and over. At the same time, like Randy said, this should have been taken care by Obama and the others when they had the opportunity but I think that they were scared that it was going to cost them the election had they done anything then. The whole thing with this is that we all need to be coming together instead of finding lines of division.

    Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 1:47pm
  7. The $3 Million cost in a time of Sequester cuts in not acceptable. Note that the SCOTUS raised questions about how & why they should have standing before the court. Everyone seems to think the President should have done an awful lot of things in the 45 days he had a bare majority in Congress.

    Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 2:51pm
  8. What a waste of money.

    Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 4:25pm
  9. Here we go with the spend and waste Republicans doing nothing for anyone.

    Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 7:13pm