House Republicans urged the Supreme Court to uphold the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids federal recognition of same-sex marriage, in a brief filed with the high court Tuesday.
The 60-page brief filed by the Republican-controlled House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) slammed the Obama administration’s February 2011 decision to stop defending the constitutionality of DOMA in court and argued that gays have not faced the same level of discrimination as other minorities.
“[T]he decision of the President and Attorney General to stop defending and start attacking DOMA itself demonstrates the remarkable political clout of the same-sex marriage movement,” the brief reads.
Noting that the Justice Department defended DOMA for the first two years of Obama’s presidency, the brief stated that “the Administration abruptly reversed course and abdicated its duty to defend DOMA’s constitutionality” in February 2011.
Echoing a similar argument made by proponents of California’s Proposition 8 in a brief filed yesterday, BLAG states that there is a “unique relationship between marriage and procreation” and there is “nothing irrational” about refusing to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples who can not procreate.
“[G]ays and lesbians are one of the most influential, best-connected, best-funded, and best-organized interest groups in modern politics, and have attained more legislative victories, political power, and popular favor in less time than virtually any other group in American history,” the brief continues, arguing that sexual-orientation laws do not require higher scrutiny as do other laws that fall under the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
“Gays and lesbians not only have the attention of lawmakers, they are winning many legislative battles,” the brief continues.
With the Supreme Court scheduled to hear oral arguments in U.S. v. Windsor March 27, House Republicans have spent $3 million on outside legal counsel since their February 2011 decision to defend DOMA in court.
[Photo: House Speaker John Boehner (Courtesy of Bryant Avondoglio/John Boehner’s office).]