House Republicans' Lawyers Drop DOMA Defense

Lawyers for House Republicans have withdrawn their legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Citing the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the federal ban on same-sex marriage, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group said it would no longer press the Obama administration to enforce DOMA, withdrawing its defense in McLaughlin v. Panetta, a case regarding spousal benefits for gay members of the military.

A court filing reads:

The Supreme Court recently resolved the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality. The Windsor decision necessarily resolves the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality in this case. While the question of whether 38 U.S.C. § 101(3), (31) is constitutional remains open, the House has determined, in light of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Windsor, that it no longer will defend that statute. Accordingly, the House now seeks leave to withdraw as a party defendant.

The House mounted its defense of DOMA after the Justice Department announced in the spring of 2011 that it would no longer defend the federal law in court. As The Huffington Post's Jennifer Bendery reported in January, House Republicans were poised to spend up to $3 million defending the law.

"It is the height of hypocrisy for House Republicans to waste public funds in one breath then claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility in the next," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) earlier this year. "With Republicans willing to take our economy and our country to the brink of default in the name of deficit reduction, there is simply no excuse for any Member of Congress to commit taxpayer dollars to an unnecessary -- and futile -- legal battle."



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