House GOP Wastes No Time Throwing Your Money at DOMA Defense

House Republicans have wasted no time in making clear their costly defense of DOMA will not stop by passing a resolution on the very first day of Congress committing the House to defending the federal gay marriage ban, including some provisions that Democratic legislators are calling outrageous.

House Republicans tagged provisions allowing their lawyers to continue to defend the Defense of Marriage Act to a document outlining the procedural rules governing this Congress and, in a 228-196 vote, the rules were adopted on Thursday, one of the very first acts in this the 113th Congress.

The lengthy document authorizes the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) to continue its legal defense of DOMA in cases like Windsor v. United States, which will go before the Supreme Court this year, and to “take such steps as may be appropriate to ensure continuation of such civil actions,” and going on to say that BLAG can “intervene in other cases that involve a challenge to the constitutionality of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.”

Furthermore, and even more controversially, the rules insist that BLAG “continues to speak for, and articulate the institutional position of, the House in all litigation matters in which it appears, including in Windsor v. United States.”

You may remember that in the 112th Congress, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group voted to take up defending Section 3 but it wasn’t a bipartisan move at all: there are five members on the panel, three of them Republicans who all voted in favor, and two Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), who voted against.

This is a fact Nancy Pelosi’s spokesperson Drew Hammill has been particularly keen to emphasize in the lawmaker’s staunch criticism of this latest GOP stunt.

Reports the Washington Blade:

“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.

Readers may note that the above excerpt quotes a figure of $1.7 million spent on DOMA, in excess of the $1.5 million (negotiable) cap that had been in place until late last year.

This is because House Republicans, in an undisclosed move made in September, found time enough to authorize a $500,000 increase for defending DOMA, allowing BLAG lawyers to surpass the $1.5 million mark. This was done without consent from Democratic legislators who only found out about the change, signed off on by outgoing House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren, during the run up to Christmas while the House was mired in dire talks over the fiscal cliff issue.

With the institution of these new rules the House GOP has made firm its desire to continue to act unilaterally to defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1996 legislation that has twice been found unconstitutional by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and in several more instances by lower federal courts.

That the House GOP has moved on this the very first week of the new Congress to once again throw money at the DOMA defense sets a depressing, though not unsurprising, tone that indicates that, in terms of LGBT rights, the House’s 113th Congress will be much like its predecessor: ideologically driven and shamefully unyielding with its conservative religious agenda.


Related Reading:

Connecticut Judge Rules DOMA Unconstitutional

Republicans Appeal DOMA Cases to US Supreme Court

Ten GOP Senators File Brief in Support of DOMA

Image credit: Thinkstock.


Lynn D.
Lynn D5 years ago

They believe they're doing the right thing and they're acting on it and that is their right except they are suppose to be representatives of us ---- guess it's "us" they just don't care about but that includes the Democrats just not the Republicans ---- they ALL need to do an awful lot of changing! Thanks for article1

Heather G.
Heather G5 years ago

Except that it's not really free speech if it costs $1,700,000!!!

Christine Jones
Christine J5 years ago

I may or may not agree with them, but I defend their right to hold their opinion on gay marriage or any other subject. Free speech is always important, not just when someone is agreeing with you.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill5 years ago

Even though I support DOMA, with our fiscal problems I think we should use the money for more essential services. The Senate actually needs to pass a budget. They haven't had one in 4 years! Shameful!

Karen Howard
Karen H5 years ago

$1.7 million for DOMA? What about people who are starving or being forced out of their homes? What about teachers who have to buy school supplies for their students because there’s no money? Get your priorities straight, GOP. If two people love each other & want to be married, why does it bother you so much if they’re the same gender? They’ve probably got a more stable relationship than the politicians who are fornicating outside marriage & lying about it.

Cletus W.
Cletus W.5 years ago

Glenna -- your story hits on a familiar thread in the intellectual life of Teatards. One that is often seen on Care2. They all think that when they post their mindless drivel, there should be nothing but agreement. They will instantly claim that any disagreement with them is an infringement of their free-speech rights. It is a hoot that so many of these so-called conservatives are so ready to claim victimhood at the first sign that they might have to defend their posts and think for themselves.

It is a pet-peeve of mine that these empty rightwing drama queens have been allowed to take on the mantel of "conservative", even at a national level. Real conservatives, only few and far between these days, find these little monkeys repugnant.

Cletus W.
Cletus W.5 years ago

Glenna and Mary -- yes, I did dare criticize the king and queen of rightwing apologists. I took them to task because their posts had nothing at all to do with the story, but instead merely DEFLECTED to supposed sins by the [D]s and Obama.

I just wanted to point out that those two are mindless little rightwing parrots, with the intellectual skills of the squirrels that populate my backyard. With their anonymous censorship, apparently they or their minions would like to add intellectual cowardice to their sins against cogency.

Glenna Jones-kachtik
Glenna Kachtik5 years ago

Cletus, I read someone who applauded your post & then couldn't find it. Some of us have no idea what you said....It is pretty telling that Elaine A & Adam S - who seem to have absolutely nothing to say to most anything but "Obama's fault" or Democrats fault seem to remain online. I think all views should stay up - even those I disagree with - unless it is unmitigated SPAM (of which has been prominently displayed lately).
Someone posted a friend's page of FB yesterday - this dumb video saying that liberal women were stupid & Conservative chicks rocked. I commented on it because one of the frames criticized Pres Obama for calling & apologizing to Sandra Fluke for Rush Limbaugh...this guy who posted the page sent me a message to not be spreading my hate on his friend's page...Funny. I thought if someone sticks something out there - they should know that someone with an opposite opinion is going to take them on - especially when it is stupid crap.
Fight on, Cletus.

Christina Carlson

Glenna - A million stars to you and your cut-through-the crap comments! I agree 100% with all you've posted on this thread. Extra happy snaps for "Maybe if they were subject to all the same laws they passed for everyone else they might become just a tad more humbled & remember that what they propose & pass affect real, living breathing people." Brilliant! There was a petition on "We The People" suggesting wage and benefit freezes for Congress until they can begin contributing to the wellfare of the American people again...but it got archived without enough signatures. Darn shame.

Jean Wall
Jean Wall5 years ago

So ,what about this "a dollar of cuts for a dollar of spending" 'bout we cut the costs of defending sec. 3 of DOMA which has been deemed unconstitutional for years now out of congressional salaries. Then we'll see how sacred marriage really is to them.