House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on
Tuesday criticized legal spending to defend the Defense of Marriage
Act (DOMA), the 1996 law which bans federal agencies from recognizing
the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
At the direction of House Speaker John
Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, the so-called Bipartisan Legal
Advisory Group (BLAG) stepped in to defend the law in court after the
Obama administration declined to do so, saying it believes the law is
unconstitutional. BLAG hired former Solicitor General Paul Clement
and authorized a $1.5 million budget.
“It is unconscionable for Speaker
Boehner and Republican leaders, including Chairman Dan Lungren who
authorized the contracts with the outside law firm, to continue to
stand on the wrong side of history at taxpayer expense,” said
Pelosi in a statement.
“To date, Boehner has intervened in
14 DOMA cases at taxpayer expense and lost five in a row so far,”
House Democrats charge BLAG is about to
surpass the $1.5 million cap agreed to last year.
“Despite losing multiple court cases,
Speaker Boehner continues to insist on racking up even more
taxpayer-funded legal bills, even as Republicans claim to be
concerned about the deficit,” said House Minority Whip Rep. Steny
Hoyer of Maryland.
The Supreme Court has been asked to
review four DOMA challenges. The court has not announced whether it
will hear any of those cases.