Former Republican Solicitor General Will Defend Discrimination for House Republican Leadership

by HRC Staff

Speaker Boehner goes to great lengths in hiring Paul Clement to defend DOMA

WASHINGTON - Today the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, strongly criticized the House Republican leadership for taking on former Republican Solicitor General Paul Clement as counsel to defend the clearly discriminatory and unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. Clement served under President George W. Bush as the government's lawyer before the Supreme Court and currently works as a partner at the firm King & Spalding.

"Not only are House Republican leaders defending the indefensible, they've brought in a high priced attorney to deny federal recognition to loving, married couples," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Speaker Boehner appears ready to go to great lengths, and the great expense of a high-power law firm, to try to score some cheap political points on the backs of same-sex couples. King & Spalding were not required to take up this defense and should be ashamed of associating themselves with an effort to deny rights to their fellow citizens."

Earlier today, Speaker Boehner released a letter he sent to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in which he endorsed a right-wing plan to defund part of the Department of Justice because of the Obama Administration's thoughtful analysis that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

"With such a high-priced lawyer, it's no wonder the Speaker is grasping at straws in order to justify spending taxpayer money on defending discrimination," said Solmonese. "Next he'll probably call for slashing Education Department funding because kids might learn it's unconstitutional to discriminate against certain groups of people."

According to a March 2011 poll conducted by HRC and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, 51 percent of voters opposed DOMA and 54 percent opposed the House Republican's intervention in cases challenging its constitutionality.

"With the American people clamoring for leaders to deal with the economy, voters are no doubt scratching their heads wondering how a boondoggle for right-wing lawyers is going to help their pocketbooks," said Solmonese

With the House intervention in this case, a number of important questions remain unanswered by House Republican Leaders:

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.

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