Boehner: House GOPers will decide this week whether to defend DOMA

Under federal law, whenever the Executive branch declines to defend a law it believes is unconstitutional, the Attorney General must inform Congress of that decision. Congress can then decide whether or not to defend the law. We’re seeing that play out now on DOMA. Now, it’s up to the House to decide what to do. Yesterday, via On Top Magazine, Boehner talked to Christian Broadcasting Network about options on DOMA. Here are some excerpts from CBN::

Speaker John Boehner: “We’ve been researching all the options that are available to us. We’ll be talking to the members in the next few days about that and I expect we’ll have a decision by the end of the week.”

David Brody; “Rick Santorum says that the Speaker of the House should appoint a counsel representing the House of Representatives to take up the case and argue DOMA in federal court. Is that a good idea?”

Speaker John Boehner: “It’s an option being considered.”

David Brody: ”And on these options the bottom line is that something is going to happen from the House and something will get done?”

Speaker John Boehner: “I’d be very surprised if the House didn’t decide that they were going to defend law.”

So, we’ll know this week.

The final decision is apparently in the hands of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), which includes top House leaders: Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy, Pelosi and Hoyer. That five-member panel appoint and provide direction to the House General Counsel. But,
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Boehner and the House homophobes force a vote on this one. That would give the three GOPers on the BLAG the backing they want.

Now, the decision by an administration not to defend a law doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen. That’s why there is a statute dealing with this situation. In fact, as the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus and the New York Times Adam Liptak both reported over the past couple days, the now-Chief Justice, John Roberts, refused to defend a law on behalf of the first Bush administration back in 1990. So, the hysteria over Obama’s determination that DOMA is unconstitutional is, of course, misplaced. Although, for the past two years, too many apologists (mostly obsequieous job seekers and lobbyists) from the LGBT community made some of the same arguments that the right-wingers are making now.

My favorite line from Boehner is that Obama’s DOMA decision was “raw politics.” Good. That means the Obama administration finally realized that supporting equality is actually good politics. Hopefully, they learned some of that from the DADT vote. It’s not 1993 anymore. If the House GOPers want to engage in legislative gay-bashing over the next couple weeks, so be it. Doesn’t create any jobs. And, sure doesn’t help them with young voters. Not sure I’d want Santorum dictating social policy, but, that’s Boehner’s call.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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