Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GOP's Defense of DOMA is Running Into Problems

The Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives in last year’s elections because they insisted that they would focus on job creation. Since taking control of the House, however, it’s been established that they are spending a lot of time focusing on social issues. One of those issues is same sex marriage, which they decided to take on as an issue after the Obama Administration said the DoJ would no longer be defending it because they believe the law to be unconstitutional. In other words, the House Republicans are focusing on social issues instead of jobs and will be spending money during these tough economic times to defend a law that takes rights away from people.

That decision, and how they’re handling the situation, has caused the GOP to run into a few roadblocks. In a recent hearing of the Judicial Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, for instance, the Republicans got a lot of heat for having Maggie Gallagher testify about DOMA but refusing to even extend an invitation to the Department of Justice. Since the entire hearing was supposed to be about how the DoJ will no longer be defending DOMA, this decision appeared to be very odd since you’d think anyone wanting the full story would want the DoJ there. As Rep. John Conyers pointed out during the hearing, anyone who has been following the situation is painfully aware that the GOP is just playing political games with people’s basic civil rights.

So as the Obama Administration has said it won’t spend money to continue stripping people of their rights and the GOP was caught playing political games at a hearing, Boehner was probably hoping defending DOMA he wouldn’t cause him any more problems. Nonetheless, he ran into some more issues yesterday as the law firm he was using to take up the defense has decided to drop the case. The firm’s Chairman, Robert D. Hays, Jr., had the following to say about the decision.
Today the firm filed a motion to withdraw from its engagement to represent the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives on the constitutional issues regarding Section III of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Last week we worked diligently through the process required for withdrawal.

In reviewing this assignment further, I determined that the process used for vetting this engagement was inadequate. Ultimately I am responsible for any mistakes that occurred and apologize for the challenges this may have created.
The GOP is maintaining that they should continue defending the law because Obama’s decision supposedly goes against tradition and the constitution. As Steny Hoyer said when he announced his opposition to Congress defending the law, however, “ there have been over 50 instances [since 1979] in which both Democratic and Republican Administrations have declined to defend acts of Congress.” What this ultimately means is that they are spreading mistruths about why the Obama Administration was wrong in a desperate attempt to hide the fact that they’re simply spending money in an attempt to push their own social agenda on other people. For a party that told the American people it would focus on job creation, these actions are a prime example of how the leaders of the GOP are going back on their promises.

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