In a statement released on Friday, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer indicated his opposition to a plan announced by Speaker John Boehner to have the House of Representatives intervene in cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act.
Boehner had asserted earlier on Friday that “the constitutionality of this law should be determined by the courts — not by the president unilaterally” and had described his plan to have the office of the House General Counsel defend the act.
“The Speaker has indicated he is going to convene the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to decide whether to intervene in cases concerning the Defense of Marriage Act,” Hoyer’s statement commented. “I believe the Administration has correctly concluded that the statute is discriminatory and unconstitutional. I therefore will oppose intervening in cases regarding this Act.”
“The Justice Department’s decision not to defend this law is not without precedent,” the statement continued. “Since 1979, there have been over 50 instances in which both Democratic and Republican Administrations have declined to defend acts of Congress. Rarely has the House intervened to defend the constitutionality of statutes that the Justice Department has declined to defend.”
Raw Story received Hoyer’s statement in an email. It should be available shortly at his website.
Muriel Kane is an associate editor at Raw Story. She joined Raw Story as a researcher in 2005, with a particular focus on the Jack Abramoff affair and other Bush administration scandals. She worked extensively with former investigative news managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna, with whom she has co-written numerous articles in addition to her own work. Prior to her association with Raw Story, she spent many years as an independent researcher and writer with a particular focus on history, literature, and contemporary social and political attitudes. Follow her on Twitter at @Muriel_Kane
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