WASHINGTON – Leaders of the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organizations today called on the House Republican leadership to stop funding the legal defense of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
DOMA forbids the federal government from recognizing the marriages of lawfully wedded same-sex couples, legally married in states that allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain marriage licenses.
The letter reads:
“Despite the enormous economic challenges our country is facing, the House of Representatives recently decided to increase government spending to defend this discriminatory law – a law that intentionally harms thousands of Americans who are legally married. At the same time, voters in three states approved marriage equality and, in Minnesota, rejected writing a marriage ban into their state’s constitution. A strong majority of Americans support marriage for loving, committed same-sex couples – including an increasing number of conservatives. With more states allowing committed same-sex couples to obtain civil marriage licenses, DOMA imposes burdens on hard working, tax paying citizens.”
Last week the contract with Bancroft – the Washington-based law firm hired by Republicans to defend the law in court – was made public, revealing that House Republicans secretly agreed to raise the cost cap to $2 million. Republicans began defending the bill after the Obama Administration announced in February that it viewed the law as unconstitutional and could no longer defend it in court.
According to a 2004 report from the Congressional Budget Office, federal individual income and estate tax revenues would actually increase $700 million per year if DOMA did not mandate the nonrecognition of marriages of same-sex couples. Recent polling from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner found that a majority of Americans oppose DOMA and the Republicans’ defense of it in court.
DOMA singles out lawfully married same-sex couples for unequal treatment under federal law. Section 2 of DOMA purports to allow states to refuse to recognize valid civil marriages of same-sex couples. Section 3 of the law carves all same-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, out of all federal statutes, regulations, and rulings applicable to all other married people — thereby denying them over 1,100 federal benefits and protections.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Dec. 7 that it would be taking up United States v. Windsor, which questions the constitutionality of DOMA.
Click HERE to view the letter: