May 31, 2012
Speaker Boehner Blind to Heart-Wrenching DOMA Discrimination
HRC launches action alert as another court rules against law that Speaker Boehner is putting up taxpayer money to defend
Washington – Today a federal appeals court ruled that the discriminatory law known as the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional – the fifth federal court to do so. Nevertheless, House Speaker John Boehner continues to contract with private attorneys to defend DOMA in court with a contract worth up to $1.5 million in taxpayer money. This is after Boehner approved a tripling in the cap from the earlier limit of $500,000. Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement:
“The writing is on the wall for DOMA with five federal courts calling it what it clearly is – unconstitutional discrimination against loving and committed couples. The federal government shouldn’t be in the business of picking and choosing which marriages it likes and which it doesn’t but that’s the effect of this unjust law. While the country is solidly on the side of treating all families with dignity and respect, Speaker Boehner continues to turn a blind eye to this legally sanctioned discrimination. And what’s worse, he’s doing it with taxpayer money. At a time when budgeting is the watchword in Washington, Americans will be rightly aghast at this boondoggle. The Defense of Marriage Act singles out same-sex couples for unfair treatment and no amount of money can overcome the fact that it flies in the face of our cherished constitutional principles.”
Under DOMA, even lawfully-married couples cannot be recognized by the federal government, and as a result are denied access to more than 1,100 rights, benefits and responsibilities under federal law. These include Social Security survivor benefits, federal employee health benefits for spouses, protections against spouses losing their homes in cases of severe medical emergencies, the right to sponsor a foreign born partner for immigration, the guarantee of family and medical leave and the ability to file joint tax returns, among many others.
Today HRC launched an action alert to its members and supporters calling on Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor to stop wasting taxpayer money in defense of DOMA.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.