Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) said the House of Representatives would defend controversial legislation passed by Congress in 1996 that defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman.
Last week, President Barack Obama decided that a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, a Clinton-era law that restricts the benefits of marriage to a man and a woman only, was unconstitutional, and ordered the Department of Justice to stop defending it.
“I’m really disappointed in the President and the Department of Justice in the fact that they’re not going to defend a law that Congress passed overwhelmingly,” Rep. Boehner said on Christian Broadcasting Network’s The Brody File Sunday.
“It’s their responsibility to do that,” he continued. “Now, it’s happened before where administrations have decided they weren’t going to go out and vigorously defend a law that Congress passed, but I really am disappointed in the President in his actions. If the President won’t lead, if the President won’t defend DOMA, then you’ll see the House of Representatives defend our actions in passing a bill that frankly passed overwhelmingly.”
“I’d be very surprised if the House didn’t decide that they were going to defend the law,” Rep. Boehner added.
The Department of Justice said in a media advisory that in reviewing two lawsuits, Pedersen v. OPM and Windsor v. United States, the president concluded that the act did not meet constitutional standards against discrimination.
From now on, they added, in cases where Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is challenged, the Department of Justice will no longer offer a defense.
“In these cases, the Administration faces for the first time the question of whether laws regarding sexual orientation are subject to the more permissive standard of review or whether a more rigorous standard, under which laws targeting minority groups with a history of discrimination are viewed with suspicion by the courts, should apply,” the department’s media advisory said.
With prior reporting by Stephen C. Webster.