US House Republicans anti-DOMA continues
 

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posted Friday, January 4, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 1

US House Republicans anti-DOMA continues
by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

While the House Republican leadership shut down the 112th Congress before voting emergency funds for Hurricane Sandy victims, they found the time to arrange continued funding to defend DOMA in court.

According to the Huffington Post, a closed-door meeting of the House Republican conference decided on January 2 to include funding for the so-called Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) in the rules package for the 113th Congress.

The new House rules also state that BLAG continues to 'speak for' the House in its defense of DOMA.

BLAG was authorized by the Republican-controlled House to defend DOMA in court after President Obama and the U.S. Department of Justice determined that the law was unconstitutional. The funding allows the House group to hire outside lawyers to argue against marriage equality.

PELOSI CRITICIZES MOVE
On January 3, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi's office condemned 'the extraordinary measure' of using the House rules to reauthorize the defense of DOMA.

'Today, House Republicans will send a clear message to LGBT families: their fiscal responsibility mantra does not extend to their efforts to stand firmly on the wrong side of the future,' said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

Hammill also noted that the rules package 'for the first time' explicitly states that BLAG speaks for the full House on DOMA matters - something he said is definitely not the case.

'As House Democrats have time and time again made clear, the BLAG does not speak for all members of the House of Representatives, and we will continue to oppose this wasteful use of taxpayer funds to defend DOMA,' he said.

LGBT rights advocates were also outraged by the Republicans' action.

'It's truly disheartening that, on a day of new beginnings on Capitol Hill, the leadership of the House of Representatives is advancing a measure, through its rules, to continue spending taxpayer dollars on expensive lawyers to defend the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in court,' Freedom to Marry said in a January 3 statement.

'This law has been struck down as unconstitutional 10 times, with support from judges appointed by Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes. It's past time for the Republican leadership to listen to their constituents, a majority of whom support the freedom to marry, and stop wasting precious resources in an effort to treat fellow Americans as second-class citizens.'

DISRESPECTS NEW MEMBERS
'It is particularly disappointing that this historic Congress - with the largest-ever class of openly Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual members and same-sex congressional spouses - has begun with a vote that disrespects those new members and all LGBT Americans,' the HRC said.

'To date, the GOP leadership in the House has spent nearly $2 million on DOMA - despite the fact that a majority of Americans support marriage equality. The new rules package codifies that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), charged with the defense of DOMA, speaks for the entirety of the House. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats, however, oppose spending taxpayer dollars on defending DOMA.'



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