House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has long advocated for greater transparency in the House, calling in 2009 for a “new era of openness and transparency in our government.” Now, he has rejected a proposal to allow cameras in the courtroom when House lawyers defend the Defense of Marriage Act:
BIPARTISAN LEGAL ADVISORY GROUP: Intervenor-Defendant the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives respectfully advises that it prefers not to participate in this district’s pilot project permitting video recording of courtroom proceedings. Accordingly Intervenor-Defendant declines to consent.
Given Boehner’s constant cries for more public access to government proceedings (including cameras for the House Rules committee), why is he suddenly trying to hide the House’s DOMA defense in the closet? After all, he is utilizing $500,000 of taxpayer money to defend discrimination — shouldn’t that be subject to the same public scrutiny?
But as Equality Matters pointed out yesterday, the clear motivator is shame, just as it has been for the proponents of Prop 8. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s (D-CA) office has pointed out that Boehner’s “defense of the indefensible ‘Defense of Marriage’ Act does not have the facts or the law on its side.” In fact, the defense’s briefs have been riddled with anti-gay lies, including distortions of plaintiffs’ experts’ testimony to suggest that homosexuality is a choice. Boehner seems to apply a double standard: transparency is good when it makes Republicans look good, but not when they are fighting to deny rights and benefits to the American people.