House Republican Leadership Violates Jobs Pledge by Taking Steps to Take up Defense of Discriminator

by HRC Staff

Intervention tries to score political points while violating pledge to focus on economic woes

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 steps to defend the clearly discriminatory and unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court, violating their pledge to focus only on economic issues.

"House Republican leadership has now shown they're more interested in scoring cheap political points on the backs of same-sex couples than tackling real problems," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "As families across the country continue to struggle, the House Republican leadership's prescription is to keep families they don't like from accessing needed protections."

Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have repeatedly promised Americans that they will only focus on jobs and the economy:

"The decision to mount an all-out defense of DOMA is particularly hypocritical given the Speaker's contention that the President was distracted from focusing on the economy by DOMA," said Solmonese.

In order to defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA in court, Congress would likely have to make arguments that could include:

"A far right fringe may be calling for a defense of DOMA, but doing so is sure to turn off independent voters," said Solmonese. "John Boehner should realize that the world has changed since 1996 and fair-minded Americans won't like what House Republican leaders have to say when trying to justify federal discrimination against some of a state's lawful marriages."

Additionally, there are no guarantees that House Republican leaders would succeed in these cases. In two DOMA-related cases in Massachusetts, a federal judge appointed by President Nixon has already found Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional even under the lowest level of scrutiny that gives great deference to the legislature.

"What should never be lost in this debate is that every day, DOMA denies fundamental protections like social security benefits to legally married couples and their families," said Solmonese. "If Congress wants to make the lives of Americans better, they should be repealing DOMA, not wasting time and resources defending it."

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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