After issuing a muted condemnation of President Obama’s decision not to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is suggesting that he may seek to defend the law in the government’s stead. During a recent appearance on CBN’s ‘The Brody File’, Boehner assured Christian listeners that Republicans will soon decide how to proceed in upholding the Act:
BOEHNER: Now, it’s happened before where administrations have decided they weren’t going to go out and vigorously defend a law that Congress passed 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. [...]
We’ve been researching all the options that are available to us. We’ll be talking to the members in the next few days about that and I expect we’ll have a decision by the end of the week…I’d be very surprised if the House didn’t decide that they were going to defend law.”
Boehner’s comments align the Speaker with the most social conservative faction of the Republican party and seem to undermine the belief that “the wedge has lost its edge.” Most mainstream Republicans have stopped short of calling on the House to defend the law, but conservatives like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) have embraced the messaging of anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council, the National Organization for Marriage, the American Family Association and are calling on House Republican to push back against the President’s decision.
Santorum asked Boehner to defend DOMA in court, while Gingrich and King have both proposed “cutting the funding to the Justice Department” in response to the decision. Gingrich even went so a far as to argue that Obama is violating his “Constitutional oath.”