House Approves Amendment Barring Justice Dept From Opposing DOMA

Jim Burroway

May 10th, 2012

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last night to add an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to prohibit the Obama administration from taking any action that could be seen as violating the Defense of Marriage Act. Specifically, the amendment prohibits the Justice Department from spending any money to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act. Sixteen Democrats joined the Republican caucus in approving the measure in a 245-171 vote. Seven Republicans opposed the measure: Reps. Mary Bono Mack (CA), Richard Hanna (NY), Nan Hayworth (NY), Steven LaTourette (OH), Jerry Lewis (CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), and Rep. Lee Terry (NE).

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) said he introduced the amendment in response to Vice President Joe Biden’s expression of support for marriage equality on Sunday. “Stating his position is fine, Huelskamp said, “but you tie that together with the issues with the lawsuit in California in which, essentially, the attorney general walked away from DOMA and said, ‘I’m not going to defend that.'”

The amendment was also introduced after President Barack Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage.

The sixteen Democrats supporting the amendment were: John Barrow (GA), Sanford Bishop (GA), Dan Boren (OK), Ben Chandler (KY), Jerry Costello (IL), Mark Critz (PA), Henry Cuellar (TX), Tim Holden (PA), Larry Kissell (NC), Dan Lipinski (IL), Jim Matheson (UT), Mike McIntyre (NC), Collin Peterson (MN), Nick Rahall, (WV), Mike Ross (AR), and Heath Shuler (NC).

Dave H

May 10th, 2012

I think this is just political posturing; this amendment has no real teeth. “Specifically, the amendment prohibits the Justice Department from spending any money to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act.” That doesn’t say they must defend it. Saying “We’re not going to defend that” doesn’t cost any money at all.

Jim Burroway

May 10th, 2012

Actually, saying “We’re not going to defend that” does cost money when you say it like this:

http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2012/04/04/43363

The DoJ is not excatly standing aside with their hands folded.

Mark F.

May 10th, 2012

Does this vote mean the Democrats would have the votes to repeal DOMA if they had a majority again? (Of course, they didn’t bother to even try in 2008-2009)

cd

May 10th, 2012

Does this vote mean the Democrats would have the votes to repeal DOMA if they had a majority again? (Of course, they didn’t bother to even try in 2008-2009)

Likely yes. But the earliest Democrats are likely to hold all three offices and chamber majorities is 2017. At which point national polling, on trend, should see 48+% popular support for positive legalization of gay marriage.

Timothy Kincaid

May 11th, 2012

Cd

By every poll out there, we’re at 48+% popular support for legalizing marriage today.

Mark F.

May 11th, 2012

A chamber majority would not be enough in the Senate because 40 Senators could block repeal. Of course, you have to figure there will always be a few anti-gay Democrats, but also an increasing number of pro-gay Republicans.

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