In a filing asking the Supreme Court to
uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as constitutional, House
Republicans argue that gays are a politically powerful group.
DOMA is the 1996 law which prevents
federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and
lesbian couples, thereby denying them access to federal benefits and
protections extended to married heterosexual couples.
DOMA was enacted by lawmakers to
specifically deny federal recognition to gay couples.
Yet, House Speaker John Boehner,
Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, top
Republican lawmakers who do not support gay rights, argued that as a
group gays have too much political cloud to deserve the court's
“In short, gays and lesbians are one
of the most influential, best-connected, best-funded, and best
organized interest groups in modern politics, and have attained more
legislative victories, political power, and popular favor in less
time than virtually any other group in American history,” wrote
attorney Paul Clement, who represents the House majority. “Gays
and lesbians not only have the attention of lawmakers, they are
winning many legislative battles. And the importance of this factor
in the analysis cannot be gainsaid. . . . [G]iven that the ultimate
inquiry focuses on whether a group needs the special intervention of
the courts or whether issues should be left for the democratic
process, the political strength of gays and lesbians in the political
process should be outcome determinative here.”
The Supreme Court will hear oral
arguments in March and is expected to hand down a ruling in June.
8 backers urge Supreme Court to uphold gay marriage ban.)