WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, House LGBT Equality Caucus Members Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), John Conyers (D-MI), Jared Polis (D-CO), David Cicilline (D-RI), and newly sworn-in Members of Congress Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Mark Takano (D-CA) denounced the House Republican move to include additional funds to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act(DOMA) in the opening day rules package for the 113th Congress.
The Members issued the following joint statement:
"It has been 16 years since Congress enacted DOMA, and the arguments being made to defend the law do not withstand the test of time or scrutiny. At a time when families are struggling to make ends meet and asking Congress to focus on jobs and the economy, all Members should object to the use of taxpayer dollars to pay costly legal fees to make arguments that lack adequate factual or legal support, in pursuit of a law that is not worthy of a defense. This is particularly true in light of the harm that DOMA causes to loving and committed couples and their children. The time to send DOMA into the history books is long overdue."
On the opening day of the 113th Congress, House Republicans are pushing to extend authorization of their legal defense of DOMA. That defense has already cost American taxpayers $1.7 million, an amount that will continue to spiral upward if GOP leaders are successful. The LGBT Equality Caucus has consistently objected to Speaker Boehner's defense of DOMA, and has made clear that the House isnot united on this issue, and that there are many Members who believe that DOMA is unconstitutional and should be repealed by the Congress or struck down by the courts.
Now, having lost every case which has been decided so far, House Republicans have included language in the opening day rules package to authorize the continued defense of DOMA. Section 4 of H.Res. 5 authorizes the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) to continue with ongoing litigation and intervene in even more cases.
Section 4 also makes the false claim that the BLAG, which originally voted to defend DOMA on a party-line basis and over the objection of Democratic Members Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD), speaks for and articulates the institutional position of the House in its defense of DOMA.
In fact, Leader Pelosi and Rep. Nadler, along with more than 140 House colleagues, have submitted amicus briefs to ensure that the courts understand that the House is divided on this issue and that many Members believe that DOMA is unconstitutional and should be struck down.