House Republican Leaders Vow to Defend Defense of Marriage Act
February 28th, 2011
07:42 PM ET
12 years ago

House Republican Leaders Vow to Defend Defense of Marriage Act

Washington (CNN) - House Republican leaders say they will decide by the end of the week how to proceed in defending the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

Both House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor expressed disappointment that the Obama administration decided to stop defending the law in court and said House Republicans are weighing their options.

"I'd be very surprised if the House didn't decide that they were going to defend law," Boehner told the Christian Broadcast Network.

"If the president won't lead, if the president won't defend DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), then you'll see the House of Representatives defend our actions in passing a bill that frankly passed overwhelmingly," he said.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced in a letter to members of Congress last week that the administration was reversing course and directing the Justice Department to no longer defend the law as they had during the president's first two years in office. Holder said they now believe a key part of the law, signed by then-President Bill Clinton, is unconstitutional.

Cantor told reporters that the president's position is that "he is not defending the law of the land is something very troubling I think to most members of the House."

There are two cases relating to the Defense of Marriage Act pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. There is a March 11 deadline for Congress to notify the court if it intends to act in the cases.

Filed under: House Republicans
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. usualone

    What a waste of the taxpayers monies. What are these people afraid of? When my parents were young, "divorce" was a bad word, blacks and whites couldn't marry each other, and so on. We need jobs and peace. They are deflecting from real issues. If two people love each other (and that is rare these days) one wonders how that is threatening.

    February 28, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. kayla

    where are the jobs? idiots

    February 28, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  3. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    How many JOBS is this gonna create???

    February 28, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  4. Pete

    Where are JOBS,JOBS,JOBS, you anal retentive degenerates!!O I see ,you're still learning the ropes,ha!Put them around your necks,you know the rest!!

    February 28, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Chris

    The DOMA is a perfect example of Republican hypocrisy. The GOP is always going on about state's rights. But when states began to legalize same sex marriage, the right wingers in this country responded by demanding that there be a federal bill against it.

    The other bit of dogma they give plenty of lip service to is less government interference and more personal freedom. Yet I can't think of anything more personal than marrying who I want – or the government being more interferring than deciding if I can or can not marry.

    February 28, 2011 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  6. B

    These idiots need to wake up and join the rest of the 21st century. If they choose not to, they will pay the political price as others have that are stuck in the past in an ever-changing diverse country.

    This is a FREE COUNTRY that should respect the rights of – All Americans- and not just the white,Anglo-Saxon, Christian, right wing of the population.

    February 28, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. John

    The Republican leadership has to do this to avoid alienating their base, but they can't win this fight.

    February 28, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  8. Troy

    Isn't there other work that needs to be done right now than to defend a law that is unconstitutional? Obama did the right thing by changing his administration's position to not only uphold his vow for civil rights for ALL Americans, but also focus time and attention on more important matters; economy, job creation and growth, and the Mideast withdrawal plan.If the GOP wants to waste time and taxpayer money on just pandering to the right and not fixing the nation then thankfully, they'll find themselves without jobs or with no power in the next election.

    February 28, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. Sid Prejean

    How's this for a real Defense of Marriage Act"?

    "No marriage volutarily entered into by any to adults, and sanctioned by any local or state government, may be terminated by local, state, or federal statute, judicial act, or in any other manner prior to the death of one of the parties."

    You want to defend marriage? Then defend marriage. Limiting marriage, or restricting who can enter into a marriage ain't defending marriage.

    February 28, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  10. Clwyd

    Of course, waste more time and energy attacking social issues and the heck with the promise of more JOBS! Republicans are trash!

    February 28, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  11. Pretzel Logic

    Conservatives have a mortal lock on "the wrong side of history".

    February 28, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  12. JM

    How fascinating...the Republicans were voted by the people to the majority based upon their financial principles and the ailing economy-but in all of their infinite wisdom, they want to waste tax payer dollars on an issue that has no immediate relevance as to the state of this nation.

    It's also particularly irrelevant that these "leaders" use the avenue of religion (Christian Broadcast Network) to voice their "concern" about DOMA. What about speaking about this "concern" with the mainstream of the United States. CBN and the likes of Pat Robertson (The 700 Club is on CBN) release completely repulsive statements-anyone remember good old Pat speaking about Hurricane Katrina & Tsunamis? If Boehner and his clan are in-line with these crazy AWOL religious zealots, our real national problems will linger in the shadows.

    February 28, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  13. Constitution believer

    I don't want to call people any names, but I will say it is hard to understand what would motivate someone to work so hard to support a law that codifies discrimination and takes away equal rights, other than bigotry.

    February 28, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. This is becoming comical !

    The GOP will stop at nothing and I mean nothing , to avoid talking about job's ! They have went all the way to Siberia and back and still haven't made one concrete step toward's job creation ! Really, who do these guy's think they are fooling ? GOP where are the job's you promised ! JOB'S GOP ! No more straw men , you promised JOB'S ! Now let's see them !

    February 28, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  15. Former Republican - Now Independent

    One would think that Frick and Frack would have better things to do with their time ... like run Congress, not engage in their own pet project.

    February 28, 2011 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  16. once upon a horse

    right wing Republicans are always talking about having smaller government, yet they have very little problem telling a person who they should love, who they can marry, or even tell a woman that she has to carry a raptist's baby to full term ENOUGH is ENOUGH. If they think that gay marriage is against God's wishes then I'm sure the Almighty can take care of it Himself. Me thinks that there are other pressing things the GOP could be doing like helping create jobs. But then again job creation would only make Obama look good so so much for that!

    February 28, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. A keen observer

    It sounds like crybaby Boehner and and his sidekick Cantor insist in foisting their psuedo religious values on the rest of us. I thought they were supposed to be focused on JOBS, JOBS, JOBS! How does religious social values create jobs? It sounds like the republican wingnuts still don't have a clue on how to govern.

    February 28, 2011 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  18. Sgt Schultz

    Who cares? Do some real work for change. What about those jobs Boehner? Instead you want to fight 40 year old Culture Wars.

    February 28, 2011 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. jules sand-perkins

    If the Republican House can't give America jobs, they certainly can beat the dead old Ten Commandments out of the barn see if we can ride that to a healthy economy.
    Sorry guys. We didn't hire you as preachers.
    And we never would.

    February 28, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  20. NameWillRam1

    Typical GOP party, only worried about the unimportantant matters rather then straightening out the 2011 Federal Budget!.

    February 28, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  21. Tommy Mack

    Two words: SIGNING STATEMENTS. Bush used them against congress to continue torture as a "legal means". ALSO, why should the government SPEND MONEY DEFENDING a cheap symbolic act? I thought Republicans were fiscally conservative? Why should we spend money DEFENDING a bigoted act? WHERE ARE YOU PRIORITIES?

    February 28, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  22. Ash

    Party of small government? I guess only when they feel it's convenient for them.

    "...he is not defending the law of the land..." That would be the U.S. Constitution, whose "full faith and credit" clause should render the DOMA useless, but meh, we hate gay people too much to listen to the Constitution! Not to mention it also violates the 14th amendment...

    February 28, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  23. Mtnjim

    Guess the GOP doesn't agree with the "Equal Protection" clause in the Constitution when it protects something they don't like.

    February 28, 2011 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  24. michaelam

    Where are the jobs, dumb and dumber? The American people have spoken and they want JOBS! Jobs, jobs, jobs!

    February 28, 2011 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  25. TEA Partier

    Hey Boehner and Cantor-don't you get it ?! The people have spoken and we are fed up with big government and it's overreach of its power! It's time to return to limited government! You are the same GOP phony conservative back to wanting to grow government power. Enough is enough!

    February 28, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |