Friday, January 4, 2013
As I have previously discussed, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is currently under constitutional attack by Edith Windsor on the grounds that the law violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The case is Windsor v. United States. The Obama Administration has chosen to not defend the law, and so the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), a group composed of the leaders in the House of Representatives, has decided to defend the law.
On January 3, 2013, Speaker Boehner announced that the Opening Day Rules package would contain language that would allow the continued use of taxpayer funds to defend cases like Windsor and state that BLAG would continue to speak for the House on legal matters. Democrats within the House have stated repeatedly that BLAG does not support their position and does not speak for all members of the House. On the other hand, Michael Steele, spokesperson for the Speaker stated that this is an important check on the President, who would be able to otherwise reject a law unilaterally by choosing to not defend it against a legal challenge. As I have previously discussed, the Supreme Court is set to hear whether BLAG has legal standing to defend DOMA.
See Ariane de Vogue, Boehner Bolsters Support of Defense of Marriage Act, ABC News, Jan. 3, 2013.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.