Nearly everyone knew the original contract to an outside legal team to argue the merits of the Defense of Marriage Act was low-balling the amount of money House Republicans would really spend.

The original contract drawn up by the Republican-dominated Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) in April 2011 called for paying $500,000 to former Republican Solicitor General Paul Clement.

House Republican leaders tripled that amount within six months, and, according to a Roll Call newspaper report December 13, BLAG increased it again to $2 million in September.

And that is very unlikely to be the last increase.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights paid almost that amount to another Republican former Solicitor General, Ted Olson, to press one case against California’s same-sex marriage ban. Clement and his team have been defending DOMA in five separate lawsuits in three different circuits — in Boston, New York, Connecticut and California.

Now, they have to argue the New York case before the U.S. Supreme Court — a service that generally commands a much larger fee than the $520-per-hour fee the House is paying now.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized House Speaker John Boehner for what she called a “frivolous” defense. But Boehner said the House has to pay an attorney to defend DOMA because the Obama administration has refused to do so.

The Obama administration has enforced DOMA, but has argued in court that it believes the law to be unconstitutional.

— Lisa Keen

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 21, 2012.