Tuesday, January 15, 2013

House Votes To Increase Spending On DOMA To $3 Million

By Brody Levesque | WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives' continuing effort to defend the Defense of Marriage Act,(DOMA) barring same-sex marriage equality will soon reach $3 million. The GOP majority led Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group has spent $1.7 million paying the Washington based law firm of Bancroft LLC firm- as outside legal counsel- to intervene in 14 separate federal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act after the  since the U.S. Justice Department was ordered to stop defending the law in federal court(s) after the Obama administration found the law unconstitutional two years ago in the spring of 2011.
A spokesperson for the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group confirmed that Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller of Michigan signed an updated contract with the law firm to increase the spending cap to $3 million. Previously, the cap was $2,750,000. 
The revised contract comes on the heels of House Republican leaders who earlier this month acted to insert language to the Opening Day Rules Package establishing that "The Bipartisan Legal advisory Group continues to speak for, and articulate the institutional position of, the House in all litigation matters in which it appears, including in Windsor v. United States."
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Windsor V. United States, a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act brought upon by Edie Windsor, a widowed lesbian, this coming March.
The revised contract which includes the signatures Bancroft firm partner Paul Clement and Kerry Kircher, general counsel for the House of Representatives reads in part:
"It is further understood and agreed that, effective January 4, 2013, the aforementioned $2,750,000.00 cap may be raised from time to time up to, but not exceeding, $3,000,000.00, up on written notice of the General Counsel to the Contractor specifying that the General Counsel is legally liable."
The contract's language, citing that BLAG represented the entire House has infuriated Democrats who are opposed to any further spending in defence of DOMA.
A request for comment regarding the increased DOMA spending by BLAG from House Speaker John Boehner, (R-OH) was instead referred to the House Administration Committee  who did not respond.