GOP House Leadership Votes to Defend the Defense of Marriage Act

The GOP leadership in the U.S. House voted Wednesday take up the charge of defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) after President Obama’s administration concluded that it could no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA Section 3.

The vote was made by members of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, though the vote’s result was anything but bipartisan with the three Republican members voting in favor and the two Democratic legislators in the group voting against.

Under House rules, the advisory group can instruct the House General Counsel to take legal action on behalf of the House of Representatives.

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In a 3-2 vote by the members of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group,  House speaker John Boehner, majority leader Eric Cantor, and majority whip Kevin McCarthy voted to defend the law, with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer voting in the minority.

“Given the complexity and number of cases, this legal challenge would sap hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, if not more, during a time of limited fiscal resources,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Pursuing this legal challenge distracts from our core challenges: creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, and responsibly reducing the deficit. And that is why I voted against this action today.”

There are currently 10 pending lawsuits challenging DOMA. A source told Pelosi and Hoyer that the House’s intervention would take at least of 18 months, and it may be years before the U.S. Supreme Court can hear the cases involved.

Democratic representatives Jerrold Nadler, Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis, David Cicilline, and John Conyers had urged the House leadership not to pursue defending DOMA Section 3 in court, issuing a joint statement at the beginning of March that, in part, read:

“It has been 15 years since the Congress enacted DOMA, and the myths and stereotypes used to support its enactment have been shattered.  Married gay and lesbian couples pay taxes, serve their communities, struggle to balance work and family, raise children and care for aging parents like other Americans.  Their contributions and needs are no different than anyone else’s.  The majority of Americans understand this and now support extending the time-honored tradition of marriage to loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.

“House Leadership has a unique opportunity to move forward rather than clinging to the past, and we urge them to do so.  A decision not to defend DOMA would honor and respect all American families and would harm no one.  Despite some claims to the contrary, that decision would also support states’ rights by respecting and treating equally the lawful marriages of each and every state.”

Following the vote on Wednesday, Boehner issued the following statement:

“Today, after consultation with the Bipartisan Leadership Advisory Group, the House General Counsel has been directed to initiate a legal defense of this law.  This action by the House will ensure that this law’s constitutionality is decided by the courts, rather than by the President unilaterally.”

Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis and other Democratic lawmakers have reportedly labeled this move as “partisanship at its worst.”

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Jack Newton.


annelies j.
annelies j6 years ago

"Marriage is a social union or legal contract between individuals that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found. ..."

Amy Slattery
Amy Slattery6 years ago

Bob B. Have you read the dictionary?

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

Why try and fix the country when you can spend time and money on issues which only aimes to keep discrimination legal?
Why start investing in green jobs and infrastructure when you can push for more money into fighting unjust wars?
Why help people become selfsupporting and have affordable healthcare when you can take away the civil rights for workers, women and gays?
Why don't you just fessup, Republicans, and say you're only in it for the money your friends in the weapons, oil and finance sector put in your pockets?

David N.
David N6 years ago

Nothing surprises me about Government wasting taxpayer money, & time on issues that concern a small minority. GOP=Got Our Priorities.

annelies j.
annelies j6 years ago

Bob, your dictionary need an update. Are you sure it's not your bible you're looking at?

Bob B.
Bob B.6 years ago

marriage is between 1 man & 1 woman --thats what the dictionary says

Robert S.
Robert S6 years ago

It's called upholding the Constitution. Last I checked, we were a "Republic"... Obama can't make up the rules as he goes along. There are checks and balances.

Alice B.
Alice B6 years ago

The Repulsives need to crawl into their own ugly and disgusting CLOSETS and kill themselves.

Hope S.
Hope S6 years ago

More smoke and mirrors, playing on emotion, and a complete waste of taxpayers money. Republicans should give up a large part of their salaries to cover this nonsense.

Elaine S.
Elaine S6 years ago

'The GOP leadership in the U.S. House voted Wednesday to take up the charge of defending the Defense of Marriage Act.. '

Of course they did.