House Dems Still Want DOMA Defense Hearing
Democratic House lawmakers have again sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner urging that he allow a briefing on his court defense of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
In a letter dated Sept. 26, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the sponsor of DOMA repeal legislation, and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) as well as gay Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and David Ciciiline (D-R.I.) seek a meeting to address concerns about defending DOMA.
“As Members who believe that DOMA is unconstitutional and support the President’s decision to stop defending it, we believe that the law is not factually or legally justifiable and were interested in hearing what arguments might possibly be made in its defense,” the lawmakers write.
The letter states all interested House members should be able to attend the briefing and that it could be conducted by outside counsel undertaking defense of DOMA on behalf of the House.
Lawmakers are particularly concerned about recent filings made on behalf of the Bipartisan House Legal Advisory Group (BLAG)that are using false anti-gay rhetoric — that, for instance, it has been shown same-sex couples cannot raise children as well as heterosexual couples — to try and prop up the law.
Now several Democrats — Tammy Baldwin, David Cicilline, John Conyers, Barney Frank, Jerrold Nadler, and Jared Polis — say Clement doesn’t represent them or even the scientists he cites in his legal arguments.
“It is incumbent upon all lawyers — especially those paid for by taxpayers and responsible for representing a branch of our government — to undertake representation in an objective manner that is factually and legally supportable,” they wrote to Boehner. “Unfortunately, the outside counsel that you have retained have filed pleadings containing arguments and assertions that are troubling and appear to fall short of this standard.”
Lawmakers cite that BLAG lawyers were most recently called out by researcher Lisa Diamond for distorting and indeed misrepresenting her findings in order to support their legal arguments in a New York case where DOMA’s constitutionality is being questioned. You can read more on that here.
Boehner has not responded to this letter.
BLAG took up defense of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year after the Obama Administration was forced to review that aspect of the law and found it to be unconstitutional — as such the administration announced in February that it would not defend this aspect of the law. Contrary to some reports, the administration continues and will continue to enforce Section 3 — as is required by law — until DOMA is repealed by Congress or struck down by the courts. The administration has, however, filled against DOMA in several court cases.