House of Representatives says it will defend Defense of Marriage Act
WASHINGTON, DC, March 1, 2011 (Lifesitenews.com) - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said at a press conference Monday that House Republicans would take action to protect the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) against recent legal challenges.
The Majority Leader’s statement came less than a week after the Obama Administration announced that it believes DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex unions, is unconstitutional.
The Administration’s decision was prompted by two separate challenges to the law which are pending in the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in New York. In a press release issued by the Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Department would no longer defend the law in court, but it would “work closely with the courts to ensure that Congress has a full and fair opportunity to participate in pending litigation.”
“Again I do believe that this is a case that is distinguishable on its merits and to have the administration take the position, the president take the position, that he’s not defending the law of the land, is something very troubling I think to most members of the House,” Cantor said.
Cantor’s comments echo those of Speaker John Boehner, who told the Christian Broadcasting Network in an interview over the weekend that the House of Representatives was “researching all the options available to us.”
Neither Cantor nor Boehner revealed any details about the specific course of action that the House planned to take, but both Representatives indicated that a plan of action would be formulated by Friday.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum called on the House last week to appoint counsel to argue the case in court, a course of action which, Boehner told CNS, “is being considered.”
“If the President won’t lead, if the President won’t defend DOMA then you’ll see the House of Representatives defend our actions in passing a bill that frankly passed overwhelmingly,” said Boehner, adding that “there are a lot of options on the table.”
Some Republican allies are urging the party to avoid alienating independent voters by focusing on controversial social issues, and to keep their attention instead on the fiscal issues that are believed to have put many of them in office last November, according to a Monday blog entry on the New York Times website.
Representative Cantor, however, has said that while the Party is “driving” the issues of spending and the economy, “it doesn’t mean there aren’t other things that are important.”