US House Votes to Tie Obama’s Hands on DOMA


Just hours after President Obama announced his support for marriage equality the US House advanced an amendment that would bar the Department of Justice from using tax payer funds to fight the Defense of Marriage Act.

The move saw 16 Democrats join 229 Republicans in voting to shore up the ailing Defense of Marriage Act by amending theCommerce-Justice-Science Appropriations bill.

Reports Politico:

“It is not President Obama’s prerogative to decide which laws matter and which do not, nor his right to challenge constitutional amendments duly passed by the various states,” said the measure’s sponsor, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.).

“The Justice Department is duty-bound to enforce DOMA and to not do so is a flagrant disregard for the Constitution and for the rule of law.”


Democrats immediately attacked Republicans for the vote.

“On an historic day and in the dark of night, House Republicans have voted to tie the hands of the Obama administration with respect to their efforts to end discrimination against America’s families,” Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said in a statement. “House Republicans continue to plant their feet firmly on the wrong side of history.”

This, critics have said, is a political move that actually has little bite because Obama, while declining to defend DOMA in court, has always maintained the administration must keep enforcing the law for as long as it is on the books.

Reports The Advocate:

Ian Thompson, senior legislative assistant at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the amendment “is a solution in search of a problem. While there are multiple legal challenges to DOMA working their way through the federal courts, it is still binding. This amendment serves absolutely no purpose other than to score political points at the expense of gay and lesbian couples.”

It is of course ironic for the GOP to champion this amendment when the Republican House leadership has contracted to pay up to, and potentially more than, $1.5 million of tax payer money to defend the Defense of Marriage in court. House Speaker Boehner has repeatedly said that this money would come from “defunding” the DOJ, but this has not happened.

The House is currently funding the defense of 12 separate DOMA cases, at least two of which are on appeal after a lower federal court found DOMA to be unconstitutional.

As for which Democratic legislators voted for this amendment, they are as follows:

  • Rep. John Barrow (D-GA)
  • Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA)
  • Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK)
  • Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY6)
  • Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL)
  • Rep. Mark Critz (D-PA12)
  • Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)
  • Rep. MikeMcIntyre (D – NC, 7th District)
  • Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT)
  • Rep. Daniel Lapinski (D-IL)
  • Rep. LarryKissell (D – NC, 8th District)
  • Rep. Tim Holden (D-PA)
  • Rep. Collin Peterson [D-MN7]
  • Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV)
  • Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR)
  • Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC)

And the following Republicans crossed party lines against the amendment:

  • Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA)
  • Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY)
  • Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY)
  • Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH14)
  • Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA41)
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL18)
  • Rep. LeeTerry (R-NE-2)

The full breakdown can be found here.


Related Reading:

House GOP Advances Religious Right to Condemn Gay Soldiers

‘Disorderly Conduct’ if a Trans Woman Uses a Women’s Bathroom?

Zach Wahls Speaks Out Against Amendment 1

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to House GOP Leadership.


Joe M.
Joe M.5 years ago

The Roman catholic church has nothing to do with Jesus or his father ,it was the roman religion that crucifyed murdered all 11 apostles an. Murdered millions of christians over past 2000 years .the pope is servant of Satan ...useing. name of Jesus collecting .tithes and robbing god ...they have not fed the poor

Robert K.
Robert K5 years ago

Stopportunity! I love it!!!! Even better than women in binders.

Robert K.
Robert K5 years ago

Sadly my rep is one of the ignorant Dems. He always votes the Catholic church line. He's almost always right on non-church stuff, but never on this kind of stuff. I wish he'd take the JFK position of representing the people, not the church.

Lawrence Travers
Lawrence Travers5 years ago

Boehner wears too much makeup and cries too much.

Lawrence Travers
Lawrence Travers5 years ago


Tony C.
Tony C5 years ago

When you try and vote the party of NO out you better make sure that you can vote. Some States have changed their voter registration laws so that even if you wanted to vote you won't be able to. PLEASE CHECK the voter registration laws of the States that you live in NOW, so that you can have the right ID when it comes time to vote. PLEASE tell ALL your friends about this, especially students, seniors, immigrants and the poor. I am sure that the 1% will be flocking to the voting booths so that they can retain their power and money. The 99% had better start THINKING about what will happen if the republicans get in again. For example, no contraceptives which will lead to more people. Right now 7 BILLION PLUS. No abortions even for sick babies, unwanted babies because of rape or incest. No Jobs, undrinkable water because of fracking, war with Iran, no health care. Abstinence programs only, which do not work and many others. Sex Education is needed so that unwanted pregnancy and abortion can be lessened along with STD’S that can KILL your child. So if you don't vote and get as many as you can to vote along with you and the republicans get into power this may and probably will happen. Here is an idea, car pool with a car full to the voting booths (saves gas) and after you vote, have a party and KNOW that you have done your best for your country. Have a designated driver. PLEASE REMEMBER, DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE.

Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

Lapinski supported this? That rat-faced [insert expletive here]!

For those who don't know, here's the site with info on contacting our dear elected officials.

Mitchell D.
Mitchell D5 years ago

No, Ness, sad to say, you do not have it wrong.
The American voting public needs to remove the Republicans from control of the House, and shore up the Democratic numbers in the Senate. Then this may really become the land of opportunity, rather than that of stopportunity.

Johnice R.
Johnice R5 years ago

This move continues to prove that rational and logical people cannot force the irrational and illogical to think!

Ness Watson
Inez w5 years ago

so the republicans are basically against everything except fat rich upper class white men?
Am I getting that right? I'm in the UK so I may be a little wrong.