House Democrats call on Boehner to stop defending DOMA at taxpayer expense
House Democrats on Monday questioned why House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was continuing to provide legal defense for the Defense of Marriage Act even though a federal court had declared a provision of the law unconstitutional.
“[W]e have long believed that DOMA is unconstitutional,” wrote Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Barney Frank (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jared Polis (D-CO), David Cicilline (D-RI), and John Conyers (D-MI) in a letter.
“There simply is no legitimate federal interest served by denying married same-sex couples the federal responsibilities and rights that other married couples receive, and the harm caused to these families is unjustifiable. Two federal courts have agreed, and it is no longer credible to claim that the law is not constitutionally suspect.”
After President Barack Obama directed the Department of Justice to no longer defend Section 3 of DOMA, Boehner convened the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), which voted along party lines to direct the House General Counsel to defend the law in court.
The five-member advisory group has the authority to instruct the non-partisan office of the House General Counsel to take legal action on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“We also again ask that you arrange for a briefing by the outside counsel that you have retained so that interested Members have the chance to hear from these lawyers regarding their legal defense of this law, and have an opportunity to express concerns with that defense directly to these lawyers,” the lawmakers told Boehner.
“If the Republican leadership is willing to authorize $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to defend this harmful law, and if counsel continues to purport to represent the House as an institution, then all Members are clients and, as such, are entitled to such a briefing.”