Rep. Schiff Speaks Out On DOMA Ruling in Appropriations Committee

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) spoke during a markup of the Appropriations Committee about the recent ruling by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and called on Congress to prohibit funding in the bill under consideration from defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. Speaker John Boehner has pledged to spend up to $1.5 million of money from the legislative branch appropriations to defend DOMA, and has spent $750,000 so far. Rep. Schiff has long encouraged repeal of DOMA and supports the Administration’s decision to decline to use U.S. Department of Justice resources to defend the law.

Rep. Schiff’s transcript from the committee markup is below:

“Mr. Chairman, I’d like to raise my concern about any funding in this bill being used to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. As the committee knows, the Speaker and others have suggested the House is prepared to spend up to $1.5 million in taxpayer money hiring an expensive outside law firm to defend a discriminatory and unconstitutional law. My understanding is that the House has already spent $750,000 from the House salaries and expenses account on this effort.

“Rather than throwing good money after bad, I believe we should accept what is plainly apparent. That DOMA unconstitutionally discriminates against a particular class of Americans, and should be and will be struck down by the Courts. This Committee and this House can stand in the way of that history, or we can jointly recognize the fundamental right of every American to love, and marry whom they choose.

“Just this morning, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston unanimously ruled as unconstitutional those provisions of DOMA that would deny a host of federal benefits to same-sex married couples. The court agreed with the millions of Americans who recognize the withholding of those earned benefits as wrong, because it denies gay couples the ability to make the same lasting and legal commitment as heterosexual couples.

“Mr. Chairman, the United States Department of Justice no longer defends this law, the House’s own ‘Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group’ is losing the court battle, and in a time of economic duress, it’s high time to recognize the truth of the matter, and reserve those federal dollars for a worthy cause.”