Peter J. Smith

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It’s official: Congress takes up DOMA legal defense

Peter J. Smith
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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 10, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – U.S. House Speaker John Boehner announced Wednesday that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is getting legal representation from Congress before federal court, now that President Barack Obama has decided not to defend the law.

Earlier last week, Boehner revealed that he was forming the “Bipartisan Leadership Advisory Group,” a five-member panel of congressional leaders, in order to prepare a legal response to Obama’s decision not to enforce the law. Obama has been under pressure from homosexual activists, a major donor base for his campaign, to drop the defense of DOMA, which states that in federal law “the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.”

Boehner today revealed that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group had chosen to invoke its authority under House rules to have DOMA defended in court on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Today, after consultation with the Bipartisan Leadership Advisory Group, the House General Counsel has been directed to initiate a legal defense of this law,” the Speaker stated. “This action by the House will ensure that this law’s constitutionality is decided by the courts, rather than by the President unilaterally.”

The bipartisan panel is comprised of Speaker Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and was an effort to show that the defense of DOMA was really a bipartisan issue.

The panel’s Wednesday vote, however, was split 3 – 2 along party lines – a result which Pelosi tweeted was “no surprise”.

Pelosi had previously accused Boehner and the GOP of placing themselves “squarely on the wrong side of history and progress” by defending DOMA, and said that the House would be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on an “indefensible law.”

Peter Sprigg, a Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council, appeared Thursday on MSNBC and applauded the House move to protect DOMA, which protects other states from being forced to recognize same-sex “marriages” of other states.

“I think the speaker did exactly the right thing because of the failure of the president and the attorney general to do their job,” Sprigg told MSNBC news anchor Thomas Roberts.

“It makes no sense to extend the benefits of marriage to a type of relationship that is incapable of ever creating children,” he continued. “That undermines the whole purpose of the institution and it sends a message to society that children don’t need a mother and a father.”

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