To judge by the Justice Department’s decision to ignore it and the Pentagon’s recent decision to allow military chaplains to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies on and off federal military bases, you’d think no federal law to define marriage as between one man and one woman — and to prevent the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions — even existed. Yes, debate about whether the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional is ongoing and, yes, Democrats right now are working to repeal it. But I can think of at least one other major piece of legislation like that (Obamacare!) — and, to my knowledge, it’ll still be enforced while the debate rages.
That’s why I found House Speaker John Boehner’s reiterated support for DOMA at the Values Voter Summit today so refreshing. He, at least, appears committed to the law as passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton:
“We’re going to take the money away from the Justice Department, who’s supposed to enforce it, and we’ll use it to enforce the law,” Boehner told the conservative Value Voters Summit. …
Boehner is engaged in an ongoing dispute with Attorney General Eric Holder over his refusal to defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act. President Obama has taken the stance that the law is unconstitutional. While the Justice Department usually defends laws passed by Congress against legal challenges, the Obama administration has stopped defending DOMA while Democrats work to repeal the law.
In March, Boehner announced that if Obama wouldn’t defend DOMA, he would, hiring a private law firm to defend it on behalf of the House.
Before today, I wasn’t aware Boehner had stepped forward to address the DOJ’s disappointing dismissal of DOMA — I thought the DOJ just pretty much single-handedly and in effect repealed the law — but his commitment to DOMA as long as it stands makes me think Boehner might also be one to consider answering the call of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. That group has asked Congress to enact conscience protections to ensure military chaplains are never forced to perform wedding ceremonies that violate the tenets of their faith. How ’bout it, Speaker Boehner?