In the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic decision striking down a key portion of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, House Republican leaders, who had led the unsuccessful defense of the discriminatory law, announced in a court filing today that they would cease defending other statutes that discriminate against married same-sex couples.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling is clear. Rather than trying to delay justice for particular married gay and lesbian couples and their families, Speaker Boehner should immediately file motions to end House Republicans’ involvement in the remaining cases and stop spending taxpayer dollars to defend unconstitutional discrimination,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill told BuzzFeed.
And that he did.
The Washington Post reported:
In a court filing, the House’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which played a lead role in attempting to force the Obama administration to enforce DOMA and is controlled by Republicans, said it is withdrawing from McLaughlin v. Panetta — a case in which gay members of the U.S. military challenged the constitutionality of the law and similar statutes when it comes to spousal benefits.
“The Supreme Court recently resolved the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality,” the House GOP’s lawyers write. ”The Windsor decision necessarily resolves the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality in this case.”
The document goes on to say that the constitutionality of another statute at issue in the case — known as Title 38 — remains unresolved.
But, it says, “the House has determined, in light of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Windsor, that it no longer will defend that statute. Accordingly, the House now seeks leave to withdraw as a party defendant.”
“It took a Supreme Court ruling, but House Republicans have finally taken a step toward joining the majority of Americans who have come to understand that marriage does not need defending from committed couples – and that, as Dick Cheney put it, ‘freedom means freedom for everyone.’ The House leadership spent millions of taxpayer dollars unsuccessfully defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act that the Supreme Court held is indefensible,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. “They could and should now help redeem those dollars by doing what Congress is supposed to do – pass the Respect for Marriage Act and get the discriminatory so-called Defense of Marriage Act off the books once and for all.”
“After millions of taxpayer dollars wasted defending discrimination, it’s a historic sign of the times that the House leadership is dropping its pointless quest to maintain second-class status for lesbian and gay couples,” HRC president Chad Griffin said.