Our guest blogger is Crosby Burns, Research Associate with the Center for American Progress.
This spring the Supreme Court will issue a final ruling on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. This odious law treats families headed by legally-married same-sex couples as second class citizens, depriving those families the same economic protections, access to safety net programs, and tax breaks afforded to other families. Largely because of this law—and contrary to commonly held stereotypes—families headed by same-sex couples are more likely to experience poverty, report lower incomes, and often face a higher tax burden compared to families headed by different sex couples.
Last year, the Obama Administration rightly determined that DOMA unfairly discriminates against Americans by arbitrarily denying one group of citizens (gay people) access to government programs and tax benefits. Consequently, the Department of Justice rightly refused to defend the law and promote discrimination against same-sex couples in federal court.
House Republicans, on the other hand, decided to take up the mantle of defending discrimination. To do so, these so-called “fiscal conservatives” have decided to foot taxpayers with $3 million in legal fees to ensure DOMA has its day in court.
As shown in an infographic released today by the Center for American Progress, here are nine alternative ways that House Republicans could use $3 million other than defending discrimination before our nation’s High Court:
- Provide health care coverage to 1,497 children through state Medicaid programs.
- Help 37,443 victims of domestic violence access emergency shelters and related services.
- Provide nutrition assistance to 1,873 people through Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP).
- Give 203 homeless youth access to transitional living programs.
- Increase employment opportunities through job training for 17,422 workers.
- Offer job training to 12,167 veterans, many who were forced out of the military due to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
- Ensure that an additional 75,000 people are tested this year for HIV.
- Pay back 500 same-sex couples for the $6,000 in additional taxes they pay because of the discriminatory effects of DOMA.
- Rent a billboard in the center of Times Square promoting anti-bullying initiatives for gay and transgender youth.