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|Anti-gay boobs on the Hill, or DOMA defense renewed thanks to House Republicans|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|January 03, 2013 14:07|
Today marks the first official day of the 113th session of the United States Congress. With new appointments, incoming freshmen legislators and the drama of the fiscal cliff behind them, things are returning to what Washington considers “normal.”
One of the first acts of the Republican leadership in the House was to extend funding to continue the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in its court challenges.
The Supreme Court announced in December that it would hear a challenge to the 1996 law that forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions. Lower court rulings have consistently found the law unconstitutional. The Department of Justice announced last year it would no longer defend DOMA in its many court challenges.
House Republicans stepped in to fill the void left by the Department of Justice and today, even before they tackled a relief package for Hurricane Sandy's victims, its leadership again reaffirmed a committment to funding DOMA's defense.
Priorities, Congress, do you have them?!
The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement today, rightly blasting Republicans and their leaders for continuing to fund the anti-gay legislation's defense.
“In their very first act of the 113th Congress, House Republican leaders have written their commitment to their multi-million-dollar defense of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act into the Rules of the House,” HRC Legislative Director Allison Herwitt said in a prepared statement. “It is particularly disappointing that this historic Congress – with the largest-ever class of openly lesbian, gay and bisexual members and same-sex congressional spouses – has begun with a vote that disrespects those new members and all LGBT Americans.”
Drew Hammill, spokesman for Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, called the continued funding a waste of taxpayer money.
“Today, House Republicans will send a clear message to LGBT families: their fiscal responsibility mantra does not extend to their efforts to stand firmly on the wrong side of the future,” Hammill noted in a statement released this morning. “Republicans will take the extraordinary measure of including an authorization of their efforts to defend DOMA in the Rules of the House of Representatives and by doing so, continue to spend taxpayer funds, already adding up to $1.7 million, in their attempts to defend this shameful law in federal courts and the Supreme Court.
“Additionally, for the first time in the House Rules, the Republican leadership has decided to include an explicit acknowledgement that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) ‘continues to speak for, and articulate the institutional position of, the House in all litigation matters in which it appears…’
“As House Democrats have time and time again made clear, the BLAG does not speak for all Members of the House of Representatives and we will continue to oppose this wasteful use of taxpayer funds to defend DOMA.”
It looks like we're in for a long, bumpy ride until the Supreme Court decisions on DOMA and Prop 8 come down later this year thanks to House leaders.
Top photo: U.S. House of Representatives (via c-span,org)
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