It’s beginning to look like Speaker John Boehner can’t do anything right these days.
When Republicans decided to make gay marriage a get out the vote tool for their party, conservative activists couldn’t have seen what would come next. By pushing the matter to the Supreme Court, Boehner, who defended DOMA when President Obama and AG Holder would not, actually set DOMA up to be struck down.
With the DOJ bowing out, DOMA wouldn’t have reached the Supreme Court without the able defense provided by Paul Clement hired by BLAG. This “able defense” was paid for by the taxpayers courtesy of the House of Representatives, per Speaker Boehner’s support. Without John Boehner providing the defense of DOMA, the court would not have been able to strike down section 3 of DOMA.
Speaker Boehner’s defense basically forced the Court to rule “that Congress disrespected the rights of states to recognize same sex marriages in Section 3 of DOMA when it referred only to marriage between members of the opposite sex. It also means that any reference to marriage or a spouse in federal laws should apply with equal respect to same sex marriages as marriages between a man and a woman,” as analyzed by Adalia Woodbury for PoliticusUSA.
Justice Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 majority, explained, “BLAG’s sharp adversarial presentation of the issues satisfies the prudential concerns that otherwise might counsel against hearing an appeal from a decision with which the principal parties agree.”
Carolyn Lochhead writing for Chron further cited the court’s use of the “able defense” as proof that the House’s defense of DOMA is what gave the court grounds to strike it down, “Justice Anthony Kennedy… said the “able defense” of the law by Paul Clement, hired by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group dominated by Republican leaders… gave the Supreme Court grounds to take the case. The Kennedy opinion also cited the Clement defense of DOMA as giving clear evidence of the hostility to same-sex married couples that animated DOMA.”
How much did you pay for John Boehner to force failure? Three millions dollars. You might not know that, however, because Republicans disguised the 3 million dollar price tag of hate under a “$3 million spending authorization for something called the ‘Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group.'” This little fact was discovered by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), who found it buried on page 17 of the House rules.
The real kicker here is that Boehner secretively took taxpayer money to defend DOMA, which the majority of Americans do not support. In March of 2013, a February Center for American Progress poll found that 59% of people oppose the legal prohibition of offering federal benefits to legally married same sex couples.
Conservatives can thank John Boehner for forcing DOMA all the way to the Supreme Court, after the Justice Department decided it was unconstitutional and refused to defend it. There’s no word yet on whether House Republicans plan on reimbursing the American taxpayer for yet another GOP fail, given their alleged concerns over the deficit and “big government”.
Republican big government translates into taking taxpayer money meant for one thing and using it secretively to defend limiting individual freedom for a certain class of people based on their private lives, something that the majority of Americans do not support.
Speaker Boehner has failed miserably once again: He can’t lead the House Republicans, his word is useless in negotiations due to the Tea Party caucus over which he exerts zero control, and he can’t even keep his party on the path to national electoral success by tamping down the hate.
Boehner defended DOMA and lost. His party now wears the failed hat of hate. This is a perfect example of the danger of overreaching.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.