House Triples DOMA Defense Spending Limit


The U.S. House has agreed to up the cap it put on defending the Defense of Marriage Act raising the figure from $500,000 to $1.5 million. This new agreement also opens the door for further rises.

This to pay House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) lawyers with whom the House has contracted to defend theconstitutionally suspect Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

From the Washington Blade:

According to recently approved contract modificationdated Sept. 30, House General Counsel Kerry Kircher has agreed to pay Bancroft LLC private attorney Paul Clement a sum not to exceed $750,000 to defend DOMA, but this cap may be raised to $1.5 million under written notice.

“It is further understood and agreed that, effective October 1, 2011, the aforementioned $750,000.00 cap may be raised from time to time up to, but not exceeding, $1.5 million, upon written notice of the General Counsel to the Contractor specifying that the General Counsel is legally liable under this Agreement for a specific amount,” the contract modification states.


In addition to raising the cost cap to $1.5 million, the contract modification also opens the door for further increases upon agreement of the parties involved.

“In no event shall the cap exceed $1.5 million without a written agreement between the parties with the approval of the Chair of the Committee,” the contract modification states.

The modified agreement is signed by House general counsel Kerry W. Kirchner and lead counsel for Bancroft Paul Clement.

Boehner’s spokespeople are reiterating that these funds will simply be rerouted from the Department of Justice, however when the House first made this claim the DOJ said that the funds it would have used to defend DOMA in court have already been appropriated for other work, leaving a question mark as to where exactly the money is coming from.

Democratic legislators recently wrote to Boehner for a third time to urge him to explain where exactly the money to defend DOMA is coming from and to discuss the discriminatory and discredited arguments that Clement and his team have put forward in order to defend DOMA.

A spokesperson for House minority leader Nancy Pelosi was particularly critical. Via the Advocate:

On Tuesday, a spokesman for House Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi called the new cap “absolutely unconscionable.”

“At a time when Americans are hurting and job creation should be the top priority, it just shows how out of touch House Republicans have become that they would spend up to $1.5 million dollars to defend discrimination in our country, “ Pelosi deputy press secretary Drew Hammill said.

You may remember that in June Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) announced an ethics complaint against Speaker Boehner (R-OH) regarding his appropriating funds for a legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act without knowing where those funds could be taken from, something that CREW says violates the Antideficiency Act. You can read more on that here.

Given that the original contract was made in April and the House has already seen fit to raise the cap on DOMA spending, as well as the fact that there are several ongoing DOMA cases working their way through the courts, it seems salient to ask how much is Boehner really prepared to spend — of taxpayer money no less — to defend a law that arbitrarily discriminates against same-sex couples?

Related Reading:

Obama: DOMA Issue Settled “Fairly Soon”

Leukemia Took My Partner & Now DOMA Will Take My Home (VIDEO)

Despite DADT Repeal, No Spousal Benefits for Gay Soldiers

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to netsu.


Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas6 years ago

Dawid B. said:
Had the homosexual community not demanded what is not theirs to demand, this form of fund wasting would not happen!
Shame on them!

david, what has the gay communtity demanded that is not theirs to demand?
the us constitution garuntees equal protection to everyone, it puts no limits on sexual preferance. what are you concerned about, you live in south africa, it isn't gonna cost you anything, it won't effect you in any way. it's the republicons who should be ashamed.

Boony McHugh
Reverend Boony6 years ago

First of all...I DONT WANT MY TAX DOLLARS GOING TO DEFEND DISCRIMINATION...As if discrimination could be defended in any way that would be logical or even intelligent.

Second of all...In the end...It wont matter for the simple reason that as with the proposition hate trial, none of the homo-haters/bible thumpers could put forth 1 legitimate argument in favor of discrimination let alone justify it so while it pisses me off that the Greedy Old Pricks party is wasting my tax dollars at least I'll get the satisfaction of seeing them lose big time.

Christopher C.
Chris C6 years ago

Dawid...our little closet case, why are you even posting in here about a US issue? Please keep your bigoted opinions and behinder in S. Africa when this doesn't even concern you.

Jan N.
Jan N6 years ago

DOMA is a losing battle, but by all means keep throwing money at it. That always never works.

Bigotry is such an ugly word. Let's call it legislated discrimination instead and pretend it's a good thing. It still doesn't pass the smell test.

Patrick F.
Patrick f6 years ago

People sure have a penchant for war, and anything that leads to it.

William Y.
William Y6 years ago

Dawid B. says, "Had the homosexual community not demanded what is not theirs to demand, this form of fund wasting would not happen!
Shame on them!"

What did they demand, that is not theirs?

Charles Wasserman

You're all missing the point here folks.
The core problem here is the politicians refusal the recognize the fact that the Constitution applies equally to all, at all times, under every situation.
Until the politicians in this country realize this fact, society in this country is in deep trouble.

Dawid Blyth
David B6 years ago

Had the homosexual community not demanded what is not theirs to demand, this form of fund wasting would not happen!
Shame on them!

Gary Stewart
Gary Stewart6 years ago

Find a better use for this money! What is the point in defending DOMA? Did it prevent any of the States which have legalized same-sex marriage from doing so? No. Has it strengthened any heterosexual marriage or reduced the heterosexual divorce rate? No. I have never heard of a single heterosexual marriage being saved by this law. If having DOMA in place is the only thing preventing your husband or wife from cheating on you with another person of the same sex then there are greater problems in your marriage than this law can address.

Apparently having heterosexual couples living all around hasn't done anything to influence people away from wanting to have a same-sex marriage if they're GLBT so how would having same-sex couples around influence people away from opposite-sex marriage if they're heterosexual?

Mary L.
Mary L6 years ago

Seriously? These idiots who are screaming about cutting every social program ever thought of and insisting on cuts on everything else are spending more money? Who are theses idiots?

Good on Nancy Pelosi for speaking out. Good for CREW for sueing Bohner. The rising is starting.