WASHINGTON -- House Republicans may have complained loudly during the "fiscal cliff" debate about the need to rein in government spending, but that didn't stop them from agreeing Wednesday night to sink even more money into defending the federal ban on recognizing gay marriage.
A GOP source told The Huffington Post that, during a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference, lawmakers gave a green light to including language in the 113th Congress rules package that authorizes the House legal team, known as the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), to keep paying outside counsel to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. The proposed House rules package also states that BLAG "speaks for the House" in its defense of DOMA.
HuffPost obtained a copy of the draft language, which is expected to pass the full House on Thursday when the 113th Congress begins:
Litigation Matters. Subsection (a) addresses continuing litigation in which the House is a party. Paragraph (1) authorizes the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to continue litigating a number of cases in the 113th Congress in which the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group has successfully intervened as a defendant, including one case currently before the Supreme Court (Windsor v. United States). This paragraph also confirms that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group speaks for the House and articulates its institutional position in all litigation matters in which it appears.Windsor v. United States is a reference to a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit earlier affirmed a lower court ruling that found Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional.
The GOP source noted that the addition of DOMA-related language to the House rules package is new.
House Republican leaders have been defending DOMA in court since February 2011, when Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Obama administration would no longer do so because it found the law to be unconstitutional. The House has already spent at least $1.5 million defending the gay marriage ban. The Supreme Court, the ultimate arbiter on constitutional matters, announced last month that it was putting Windsor v. United States on its docket this term.