Leaders of ten of the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights advocacy organizations on Tuesday called on the U.S. House Republican leadership to stop funding the legal defense of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
DOMA forbids the federal government from recognizing the marriages of lawfully wedded same-sex couples, legally married in states that allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain marriage licenses.
The letter, addressed to House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), calls on the GOP House leadership to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on a law aimed at fundamentally discriminating against Americans:
“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 reads.
“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.”
Last week the contract with Bancroft – the Washington-based law firm hired by Republicans to defend the law in court – was made public, revealing that House Republicans secretly agreed to raise the cost cap to $2 million.
Republicans began defending the bill after the Obama Administration announced in February that it viewed the law as unconstitutional and could no longer defend it in court.
According to a 2004 report from the Congressional Budget Office, 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.
Recent polling from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner found that a majority of Americans oppose DOMA and the Republicans’ defense of it in court.
The letter is signed by:
- Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign
- Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund
- Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President, External Affairs for the Center for American Progress
- Terry Stone, Executive Director of CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
- Hector Vargas, Executive Director of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality
- Allyson Robinson, Executive Director of Outserve-SLDN
- Justin Nelson, President & Co-Founder National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
- Rachel Tiven, Executive Director of Immigration Equality Action Fund
- Selisse Berry, Founding Executive Director Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
- Michael Munson, Executive Director FORGE, Inc.
A copy of the letter is here (PDF).