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House Democratic Leaders Object To DOMA Defense Costs

House Democratic Leaders Object To DOMA Defense Costs
1/15/2013 4:42 PM ET

The top Democrats in the House Tuesday issued a formal complaint about the spiraling costs of defending a legal challenge against the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

After the Obama Administration decided last year that it would no longer defend the federal act that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, House Republican leaders took up the legal case.

But the costs being incurred in the defense of the law, which the Obama Administration believes is unconstitutional, have prompted the two leading Democrats in the House to lodge a protest.

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. And House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., wrote to object to several increased spending decisions by House Republicans in efforts to fight legal challenges to the law - bringing the contract to roughly $3 million.

"As the two Democratic Members of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), we wish to strongly reaffirm our objections to the repeated actions by the Republican leadership to secretly and dramatically increase the contract between the House and outside counsel in arguing to uphold the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in more than a dozen cases," Pelosi and Hoyer wrote.

They added, "These steps do not reflect the will of the House or the consensus of the BLAG. Democrats do not support any decisions to invest taxpayer funds in defense of an indefensible law. We remain united in our opposition to any effort to preserve, protect, and defend discrimination in our country."

The GOP efforts to defend the law have been futile and a waste of money from the start, the Democrats wrote.

"The Republican-appointed, taxpayer-funded legal team has lost in every case. … DOMA is on its way into the dustbin of history," they wrote. "It would be bad enough if Republicans were losing in court and accepting the result. Yet it is the height of hypocrisy for House Republicans to waste public funds in one breath then claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility in the next."

Referencing the ongoing political battle over raising the federal debt ceiling, they added, "With Republicans willing to take our economy and our country to the brink of default in the name of deficit reduction, there is simply no excuse for any Member of Congress to commit taxpayer dollars to an unnecessary - and futile - legal battle."

Until the GOP decides to abandon its defense of the law, Pelosi and Hoyer wrote, they are calling on Boehner to show more transparency by releasing the legal defense contracts and providing a total estimate of the costs.

"The Defense of Marriage Act now sits before the Supreme Court," they wrote. "We believe it is only a matter of time before this offensive law is a discarded relic of a bygone era."

They added, "We look forward to the day when this measure is declared unconstitutional by the highest court in the land and when all of America's families can know the blessings of equal protection under the law."

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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