Congressional Republicans announced last week that they would be hiring a lawyer to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that defines marriages as between one man and one woman. This announcement came in response to President Barack Obama's announcement last month that his administration would no longer defend the law in court. House leadership reiterated their commitment to this discriminatory law, and are now taking active steps to support it.
I am deeply concerned about these recent events because I strongly disagree with the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as the inappropriate actions taken by Republican leadership to defend it. During this time of economic difficulty, Congress should be focused on creating jobs and spurring more economic recovery, not committed to spending over $500,000 to defend a discriminatory law. Democrats on the House Administration Committee were not given any notice about this expensive contract, and were prevented by their colleagues from reviewing the contract's provisions.
As Ranking Democrat on the House Administration Committee, I and authored a letter this week demanding details from House Speaker John Boehner regarding his actions in hiring this lawyer. Both of my Democratic colleagues on the Committee joined me in this demand. The Majority's action raised serious questions about the transparency, cost and ethics of hiring a lawyer to defend discrimination, without any notice to or vetting from the Democratic members of the House Administration Committee.
Please know that I will continue to urge my colleagues to focus on our nation's most urgent issues. I remain committed to fighting for the equal treatment of all Americans, and I am hopeful that America will continue taking steps towards providing the ideals of equality and freedom that are embodied in our Constitution.
Member of Congress