Committee on House Administration Democrats Applaud DOMA Decision
June 26, 2013 (Washington, D.C.)Democrats on the Committee on House Administration expressed their strong support for today’s historic Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor. In its decision, the Court ruled that the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act violates the Constitution.
The law, passed by Congress in 1996, restricts federal marriage benefits and limits inter-state marriage recognition exclusively to opposite-sex couples. According to the opinion written by Justice Kennedy, DOMA violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution because it “singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.” Committee Democrats have led the opposition against House Republicans secretly approving huge sums of taxpayer dollars to defend the indefensible law.
After the Justice Department announced that it would no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA, House Republican leadership approved a series of contracts paying an outside legal firm to defend DOMA cases. The initial contract was limited to $500,000 but was continually increased, behind closed doors, up to $3 million with no sign of stopping.
“Today’s decision proves what we have been saying all along. The discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act should be thrown out. It is shameful that Republican House leadership would waste millions of precious taxpayer dollars to defend a law specifically designed to discriminate against millions of Americans,” said Committee Ranking Member Robert A. Brady (D-PA). “This ruling will have broad implications across the country and takes a major step towards marriage equality.”
“At a time when Congress should be focusing on creating jobs, it is unconscionable that House Republicans have spent up to $3 million, belonging to the American people, defending this discriminatory law,” said Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA). “House Republicans have prioritized spending funds on trying to uphold a law that is unconstitutional and creates second-class citizens. We need to ensure that all Americans are treated equally before the law.”
“The House of Representatives must stop wasting taxpayer time and money on discrimination, and instead become a leader in diversity and equality,” said Brady. “I look forward to working with House Administration Chairman, Candice Miller, to ensure all personnel policies in the House of Representatives comply with the decision and I strongly encourage her to take immediate steps to cancel the wasteful and irresponsible outside counsel contract.”