June 16, 2011 | by Staff reports
National news in brief: June 17

John Boehner

A D.C. group filed a complaint against House Speaker John Boehner this week over his defense of DOMA. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Legal group files complaint against Boehner

WASHINGTON — Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington filed a complaint against House Speaker John Boehner’s defense of the Defense of Marriage Act for “violating the Antideficiency Act,” according to the group. The complaint filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics invokes the law intended to prevent government officials from “overspending on appropriations.”

The Washington-based group announced its action after the Republican leader began mounting a $500,000 defense of the law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages done in states where the nuptials are legal, because the group says the action represents “more than 35% of the $1,415,000 Congress appropriated for the [House Office of General Counsel].”

When reached for comment by the Blade, Boehner spokesperson Michael Steel called the complaint “off-base and stupid to the point that it creates the appearance of partisanship by CREW.”

Steel continued, “The Speaker expects any cost to be recouped from the Obama administration Justice Department, which should be defending the law in court.” Steel also disputed the claim that the Speaker’s defense runs afoul of the Antideficiency Act because the cost of the action is considerably less than would be considered in violation of the law.

Tracy Morgan apologizes for anti-gay tirade

NASHVILLE – Comedian Tracy Morgan, a “Saturday Night Live” alumnus and star of “30 Rock,” generated criticism from LGBT activists after delivering an anti-gay tirade during a stand-up show last week in Nashville. The NBC star said that if he had a gay son he would “pull out a knife and stab” his son “to death,” according to Kevin Rogers, who was in the audience.

After Rogers’ Facebook note about the experience started to get attention in the mainstream media, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation immediately demanded a public apology from the comedian, and garnered a pledge from Morgan to work with the organization to combat homophobia and anti-gay bullying. Morgan later appeared on hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons’ radio show to apologize for his statements in Nashville.

“Of all the sicknesses, there is probably none more abusive than homophobia,” Morgan told Simmons. “My heart is committed to giving everyone the same rights that I deserve for myself.” Morgan also told Simmons he would love a gay child as much as a straight child, if not more, “because I know of the difficulty that he would have in society.”

By phone, Kevin Rogers told the Blade he found most shocking Morgan’s comments about “[LGBT people] being born gay, versus programming and the media” being an influence, because that sort of language “fuels bullying.” Rogers told the Blade the incident compelled him to come out to his mother, when he realized she might see him on a CNN interview he was preparing to record.

“I have gotten a lot of love for my mom through Facebook,” he said, adding that his mother was really touched by “all the fans she never knew she had,” and that “Wanda Sykes sent her love.”

U.S. bankruptcy court finds DOMA ‘unconstitutional’

LOS ANGELES — The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California found Monday that the law that bars federal recognition of same-sex couples is unconstitutional, stating, “no legally married couple should be entitled to fewer bankruptcy rights than any other legally married couple.”

In an unusual move, 19 other judges of the 24 overseeing the cases that come through that district signed on in agreement with Judge Thomas B. Donovan, according to the New York Times. This is the latest blow to the Defense of Marriage Act, which has been recently found unconstitutional in several cases making their way through the federal court system across the U.S. Earlier this year, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner pledged that the legislative body would spend more than $500,000 to defend the law after Attorney General Eric Holder announced in February that the Obama administration would no longer defend it as officials consider it unconstitutional.

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