House Republican leaders have agreed to
triple the budget for defending in court The Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA), the 1996 law that forbids federal agencies from recognizing
the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples, gay weekly the
The contract modification, which took
effect on October 1, authorizes up to $1.5 million to defend the law.
In March, House Speaker John Boehner
appointed and led a committee that instructed House counsel to defend
the law in court after the Obama administration announced it would no
longer do so. The president has said he believes the law that bans
federal recognition of the marriages of gay and lesbian couples is
The House has retained the legal
services of Bancroft LLC attorney Paul Clement.
A spokesman for Boehner asserted that
the cost for the litigation would be borne by the Department of
Justice, “which is shirking its responsibility to defend the law.”
Clement, and House General Counsel
Kerry Kircher, are defending the law in at least 3 cases.
New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler,
the sponsor of a bill that would repeal DOMA, denounced the move.
“In the current climate of
Republican-sponsored deficit hysteria, draconian spending cuts, and
an ongoing recession … it is shocking and supremely hypocritical
for Republican Leadership to spend additional taxpayer dollars on the
unwarranted, unconstitutional and unnecessary defense of DOMA,”
said Nadler in a statement.
“It seems that the only jobs program
the House is creating is one for high-priced lawyers to defend an
“Republican Leadership has exhibited
an alarming lack of transparency or good faith in its defense of
DOMA, repeatedly ignoring requests for briefings on DOMA defense and
refusing to explain to the American people how and for what purpose
it is spending the public's money,” he added.