March 1, 2011 at 1:31 am EST | by Chris Johnson
Boehner: House likely to intervene to defend DOMA

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (Blade photo by Michael Key)

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Sunday that House Republicans will likely intervene to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court in the wake of President Obama’s decision to no longer argue in favor of the statute against litigation.

Boehner made the remarks to the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody following a speech the speaker gave earlier in the day before the National Religious Broadcasters and said the House would make a decision before the week is out.

“We’ve been researching all the options that are available to us,” Boehner said. “We’ll be talking to the members in the next few days about that I expect that we’ll have a decision by the end of the week.”

Last week, the U.S. Justice Department announced it would no longer defend DOMA in court after litigation filed in the Second Circuit — where there’s no precedent for laws related to sexual orientation — presented the administration with the opportunity to call on courts to examine the statute with heightened scrutiny.

Boehner said he’s “disappointed” in Obama for deciding to no longer defend DOMA and called the decision “raw politics.” The speaker said people who support DOMA aren’t likely to vote for Obama in the future because he’s “pandering to the other side on this issue.”

“Now, it’s happened before where administrations have decided they weren’t going to go out and vigorously defend a law that Congress passed,” Boehner added,” but I really am disappointed in the president in his actions but if the president won’t lead, if the president won’t defend DOMA then you’ll see the House of Representatives defend our actions in passing a bill that frankly passed overwhelmingly.”

Asked whether it would be a good idea for the House to appoint a counsel to argue for DOMA in court, Boehner replied, “It’s an option that’s being considered.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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