Maggie Gallagher, the chair of the
anti-gay marriage group National Organization for Marriage (NOM), is
among those who'll provide testimony Friday before a Republican-led
subcommittee on President Barack Obama's decision to no longer defend
in court the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Clinton-era law that
bans federal recognition of the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
The House Judiciary subcommittee on the
Constitution is chaired by Representative Trent Franks of Arizona,
who earlier this year said the
president's gay marriage decision could be an impeachable offense.
While the hearing's title, Defending
Marriage, doesn't mention DOMA, New York Representative Jerrold
Nadler, the ranking Democrat on the panel and lead
sponsor of a bill that would repeal DOMA, told
gay weekly the Washington
Blade that the hearing will focus on Obama's decision.
“This is a hearing really on the
administration's decision not to defend DOMA in court,” Nadler
said. “I think [Franks is] trying to dramatize his position –
that the administration is doing a terrible thing by not defend the
Also invited to testify are Edward
Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a critic
of the administration’s defense of DOMA in court, and Carlos Ball,
an openly gay law professor at Rutgers Law School.
Ball told the paper that he plans to
testify against the law.
“What the plaintiffs in these DOMA
lawsuits are saying is not that they have a federal constitutional
right to marry – that's not the issue,” Ball said. “These
couples are already married under the laws of their states. What
they're arguing is that the federal government should not
discriminate against their marriages. The administration has
concluded that it's unconstitutional to treat [them] differently, and
I think they're absolutely correct.”