WASHINGTON, D.C., July 3, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The roiling national debates over marriage and the Supreme Court may coincide, as the House of Representatives’ legal group has asked the High Court to rule on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
On Friday, the House appealed to the Court’s justices to weigh in on the embattled law.
The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), which represents the House of Representatives, has taken the lead in defending the 1996 law after the Obama administration announced it would no longer seek to uphold the act in court. Former Solicitor General Paul Clement is heading up the legal defense.
BLAG’s request, which spans 35 pages in length, states that the federal government has “deep and abiding interest in encouraging responsible procreation and child-rearing,” because “only a man and a woman can beget a child together without external assistance.”
“Congress, of course, did not invent the meanings of ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse’ in 1996,” it states. “Rather, DOMA merely reaffirmed and codified the traditional definition of marriage, i.e., what Congress itself has always meant—and what courts and the executive branch have always understood it to mean.”
Republicans control BLAG by a 3-2 margin. Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer voted against filing the appeal, while Republican House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy supported the motion.
Pelosi said on Friday, ‘House Republicans decided to waste more taxpayer funds to advance a position rejected by four different courts and to defend discrimination and inequality before the highest court in the land.”
DOMA’s court record is split: four courts have upheld it, and four have deemed it unconstitutional.
In May, the First Circuit Court of Appeals, located in Boston, overturned Section 3 of the law, arguing that while states may define marriage for themselves, the federal government may not.
At the time, Legal Counsel lawyer Harry Mihet told LifeSiteNews.com the ruling was “a results-driven, outcome-oriented decision wherein a court decides the result it wants to arrive at and simply makes whatever illogical leaps are necessary to get there.”
The law, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for the federal government, does not bind states, which remain free to recognize same-sex unions as they wish. Then-President Bill Clinton signed the overwhelmingly popular bill in 1996.
The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether it will hear this case, but legal experts say judicial review of the law is inevitable.