GOP steps up defense of law on marriage

April 19, 2011

By Cheryl Wetzstein-The Washington Times

The Republican leadership in the House stepped up its efforts Monday to defend the federal government’s marriage law, which is already under attack or implicated in as many as 10 lawsuits.

Paul D. Clement, who was solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration, has been retained by the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to oversee the strategy regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), House leadership aides said.

Moreover, since the Justice Department declared in February that it will not defend DOMA in court, the funding it would have used for DOMA defenses should now be “diverted” to the House to cover its legal expenses, House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said Monday in a letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.

Mrs. Pelosi — who opposes any defense of DOMA — replied to Mr. Boehner that she still wants to know what the litigation will cost. She also asked “to know when the contract with Mr. Clement was signed, and why a copy was not provided” to Democratic leaders.

In March, Mrs. Pelosi warned Mr. Boehner that there were “at least 10” DOMA cases to litigate, and the cost to defend DOMA, especially using private attorneys, would be “substantial.”

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