House Republicans and Religious Right Collaborate to Save Unconstitutional DOMA

After the Obama administration announced that it will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) because the law is unconstitutional, groups opposed to marriage equality immediately sprung into action. The Family Research Center, Concerned Women For America, and Focus on the Family’s political arm CitizenLink swiftly demanded that Congress pass a resolution to takeover the legal defense of DOMA. “Marriage advocates are ready to defend God’s design,” said Jennifer Mesko of CitizenLink, “They are calling on Congress to intervene and defend DOMA.”

According to the Washington Times, Religious Right leaders are now plotting with Republicans in Congress to do just that:

House Republicans and conservative groups are working together behind the scenes to fill the legal void created Wednesday when the Obama administration announced that it would no longer defend the federal law banning gay marriage.

The House leadership likely will introduce a resolution early next week to intervene in the four lawsuits pending against the Defense of Marriage Act, better known as DOMA, the 1996 federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, conservative leaders say.

“I know there have been discussions. I’ve been part of the discussions,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “The question is how to handle this hot potato. The president is trying to throw a monkey wrench into what’s been a very unified majority.”

Jordan Sekulow, policy director for the American Center for Law and Justice, said that although individual members could introduce their own measures in support of the law, he expects Republicans to present a united front with one resolution.

“We’re already in private discussions with members of Congress about defending DOMA,” said Mr. Sekulow. “A unified voice coming from the House would be more powerful.”

The consensus was that such a resolution would pass easily and with bipartisan support. “I don’t think there’s any question that this would pass,” Mr. Perkins said.

The decision effectively leaves the law defenseless in the face of four lawsuits, two filed in federal court in Massachusetts and two filed in federal court in New York. The Massachusetts cases are now at the appellate level.

“That’s a huge-level disadvantage for whoever takes this up,” said Mr. Sekulow. “Briefs are due soon in the 1st Circuit [Court of Appeals]. Congress is out of session this week. As of now, there’s no one defending DOMA.”