Congresswoman Johnson speaks out against more spending to defend DOMA

Posted on 03 Jan 2013 at 1:42pm

U.S. House Republicans’ funding of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act continued Thursday as they authorized more spending to defend it in court.

Republicans included authorization of their efforts to defend DOMA in the Rules of the House of Representatives. Spending for DOMA’s defense has reached nearly $2 million.

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, joined several who spoke out against the continued funding.

“House Republicans continue to demand drastic cuts to government programs at all levels under the guise of reducing wasteful spending,” Johnson said in an emailed statement. “Yet, the GOP’s decision to retain a private law firm to defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act is both hypocritical and a waste of taxpayer funds.  It needs to be very clear to the American people that the views of the House of Representatives are not being fully represented.”

Johnson voted for DOMA in 1996, but is now a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA.

Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, and the Human Rights Campaign also issued statements.

“It’s truly disheartening that, on a day of new beginnings on Capitol Hill, the leadership of the House of Representatives is advancing a measure, through its rules, to continue spending taxpayer dollars on expensive lawyers to defend the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in court,” Solomon said. “This law has been struck down as unconstitutional 10 times, with support from judges appointed by Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes. It’s past time for the Republican leadership to listen to their constituents, a majority of whom support the freedom to marry, and stop wasting precious resources in an effort to treat fellow Americans as second-class citizens.”

HRC’s statement is below.

HRC Statement on Re-Commitment to DOMA Defense in House Rules

Washington — Changes to the Rules of the House of Representatives, set to be approved this afternoon when the 113th Congress convenes for the first time, include a re-commitment to spending taxpayer dollars on a costly defense of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

HRC Legislative Director Allison Herwitt released the following statement in response:

In their very first act of the 113th Congress, House Republican leaders have written their commitment to their multi-million-dollar defense of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act into the Rules of the House. It is particularly disappointing that this historic Congress — with the largest-ever class of openly lesbian, gay and bisexual Members and same-sex congressional spouses — has begun with a vote that disrespects those new Members and all LGBT Americans.

To date, the GOP leadership in the House has spent nearly $2 million on DOMA — despite the fact that a majority of Americans support marriage equality. The new rules package codifies that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), charged with the defense of DOMA, speaks for the entirety of the House. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats, however, oppose spending taxpayer dollars on defending DOMA.

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