U.S. Taxpayers Spending $520 Per Hour Defending Discrimination

by HRC Staff

House leadership contract with King &amp Spalding on DOMA defense saddles taxpayers with $500,000 bill.

Washington - In order to defend discrimination by any means necessary, House Republican leaders have contracted with the law firm King & Spalding at the rate of $520 an hour to argue that they're right to deny recognition to legally married couples, according to the contract made public today. The document caps the cost at $500,000 but can easily be increased upon further negotiations with the firm.

"DOMA inflicts a great cost on same-sex couples but now its defense is burdening taxpayers to the tune of $520 per hour," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "The firm of King & Spalding and their attorney Paul Clement should be ashamed at every penny earned in trying to justify discrimination against American families."

There are currently at least nine cases challenging the constitutionality of section 3 of DOMA which bars federal recognition of marriages between same-sex couples. If the House were to intervene in all nine that would mean less than 100 billable hours would be spent per case in order to hit the $500,000 cap.

"Clearly this fee cap is a lowball estimate that hides the true cost of that House's intervention," said Solmonese. "But the fact that Speaker Boehner has hired such high-priced attorneys clearly shows he's willing to pull out all the stops to ensure second-class citizenship for same-sex couples."

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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