Speaker Boehner’s Indefensible DOMA Defense Strikes Out Again

Speaker John Boehner continues to use taxpayer dollars to defend discrimination by advocating for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.  But yesterday, he and his GOP-led Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) were dealt another blow to their efforts—a federal district court in the Northern District of California ruled DOMA unconstitutional and held that federal tax law cannot limit the participation of same-sex married couples and domestic partners in a long-term care insurance plan. Drew Hammill, spokesman for Leader Pelosi:

Yesterday’s court ruling again affirms that the equal protection of our laws extend to all Americans under our Constitution, and there is no legitimate federal interest in denying same-sex couples the legal security, rights, and responsibilities guaranteed to all married couples.  In ruling DOMA unconstitutional, the district court found that the arguments of Speaker Boehner’s taxpayer-funded lawyers did not demonstrate the furtherance of any legitimate federal interest.

It is long past time that Speaker Boehner and the Republican leadership stop spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to make arguments that insult millions of Americans and their families, and seek to perpetuate fundamental unfairness and discrimination.  As progress on marriage equality continues from all corners of our country, this court decision is another step forward in our fight to repeal DOMA and to ensure that every American has the freedom to marry.

And it’s not the first time DOMA was ruled unconstitutional.

Leader Pelosi and House Democrats have consistently opposed Speaker Boehner and the House GOP’s efforts to defend DOMA.

February 23, 2011 – President Obama orders the Department of Justice to stop defending the constitutionality of DOMA in federal courts

March 4, 2011 – Speaker Boehner announces he will convene BLAG to initiate action by the House to defend DOMA in court

March 9, 2011 – BLAG decides, by a vote of 3 to 2 along party lines, to defend DOMA

March 11, 2011 – Leader Pelosi sends the Speaker a letter reiterating opposition to DOMA and expressing concerns about the cost and oversight of the litigation

April 17, 2011 – Speaker Boehner finally responds to the Leader’s letter

April 18, 2011 – Leader Pelosi sends Speaker Boehner a response pressing on the taxpayer cost of DOMA defense

April 20, 2011 – Leader Pelosi questions Speaker Boehner on the House contract with outside DOMA counsel

April 26, 2011 – House Administration Committee Democrats demand more information on DOMA defense in letter to Speaker Boehner

May 18, 2011 – In letter to Speaker Boehner, House Administration Committee Democrats continue to press of transparency in DOMA contracts

October 4, 2011 – House Administration Committee Democrats condemn increase in DOMA contract from $500,000 to $1.5 million of taxpayer dollars

November 3, 2011 – Leader Pelosi and 132 House Members file an amicus brief in the consolidated case of Massachusetts v. Dept. of Health and Human Services and Gill vs. Office of Personnel Management, a landmark challenge to DOMA

February 22, 2012 – U.S. District Court California declares DOMA unconstitutional, ruling in favor of Karen Golinski who sought to enroll her wife in the federal employee health plan

February 24, 2012  – GOP leadership uses BLAG to appeal the California DOMA case decision

March 30, 2012 – Leader Pelosi and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer write the Speaker over his intervention in Cooper-Harris vs. U.S., in which a decorated U.S. Army veteran and her same-sex spouse challenge the denial of VA spousal disability benefits

May 1, 2012 – Speaker Boehner intervenes in his 12th DOMA case, in which eight current or former military servicemembers and their spouses are challenging the constitutionality of DOMA and the definitional portions of Title 38 dealing with military and veterans’ benefits

May 10, 2012 – GOP-led House passes amendment barring the Justice Department from using funds to oppose DOMA

It’s time for Speaker Boehner to put an end to this boondoggle and stop defending the indefensible.

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