House Speaker John Boehner is expected
to file his first brief on Monday in a federal court in New York in
defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Clinton-era law
that bans federal recognition of the marriages of gay and lesbian
A Boehner-appointed and -led committee
instructed House council to defend the law in court after the Obama
administration decided it would no longer defend a law it considers
“I don't think the House had any
choice but to take the position that we were going to defend the work
of the Congress,” Boehner told reporters earlier this month. “And
only the courts are in the position of determining the
constitutionality of any bill.”
But the fact that Boehner did not take
the issue to the House floor suggests the speaker isn't convinced the
House majority would back him.
Further evidence on the lack of support
from Republicans can be found at a Friday GOP-controlled House
subcommittee hearing on the issue, in
which the only Republican on the subcommittee in attendance was the
panel's chairman, Arizona Republican Representative Trent Franks.
“The president and the administration
had a duty to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, but powerful
constituencies of the president did not want the president to defend
it. And unfortunately, politics trumped duty,” Frank said at the
House counsel will defend the law in a
New York case in which a lesbian got an estate tax bill of more than
$360,000 after her legal wife died.
In at least two federal rulings, courts
have declared portions of DOMA unconstitutional.