House Republican leaders this week announced that they will no longer support a legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act now that the Supreme Court has ruled a key section of the act unconstitutional.
Legislation that would fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act enjoys broader support in Congress than a newly introduced bill aimed at banning same-sex marriages across the country, according to this article. GOP leaders in the House have indicated that they would like to move on from the issue after spending millions on the failed legal defense of DOMA.
A lawyer appointed by the Supreme Court has submitted a brief arguing that a legal team appointed by the House to defend the Defense of Marriage Act does not have the constitutional authority to do so. Harvard Law School Professor Vicki Jackson told the court that the executive branch of the federal government agrees with the lower courts that ruled DOMA unconstitutional, a reference to a decision by the Obama administration to stop defending the law.
New rules set to govern the House in the 113th Congress expressly allow House leaders to continue spending federal dollars on the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act. The rules also state that the legal team involved in the DOMA cases speaks for the entire House, a point disputed by a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. House Republicans moved to take up legal responsibility for defending the law when President Barack Obama and the Justice Department announced that they believed the law to be unconstitutional.
A group of at least 130 Democrats led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have signed a legal brief arguing that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The brief was submitted in relation to a case pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The brief criticizes House Republicans for organizing the use of public funds to pay for the law's legal defense after the Justice Department decided it would no longer defend the law.
In his final installment of a series detailing the enactment 15 years ago of the Defense of
Marriage Act, Chris Geidner speaks with LGBT advocates who worked for then-President Bill
Clinton, as well as the nonprofit leaders who opposed the administration's embrace of the law
ahead of the 1996 presidential election. Within the administration, "there were many more
people who were resigned to it than were outraged by it," said Richard Socarides, who served
as an adviser to Clinton on LGBT issues. Geidner finds much disagreement among former
White House staff and LGBT advocates over whether Clinton needed to sign the legislation in
order to avoid making his re-election effort tougher.