WASHINGTON — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys say they are encouraged by the further efforts of the U.S. House of Representatives to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act following the House’s announcement Monday of its official legal team.
ADF pledged its support of the House’s efforts to defend the act, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, in two critical lawsuits in which ADF attorneys filed friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). The decision by the Obama administration in February to abandon defense of the law in those lawsuits left the law without any legal defense.
“The American people deserve to have their laws defended. The House is demonstrating that it will not let a law that it overwhelmingly passed, that President Clinton signed, and that the American people support go undefended,” said Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Brian Raum. “ADF believes the House made an excellent decision by choosing former Solicitor General Paul Clement as lead counsel to defend DOMA, and we will support his efforts in whatever way we can.”
Speaker of the House John Boehner first announced the House’s decision to defend the Defense of Marriage Act on March 10. An order issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit on Feb. 25 had cleared the existing briefing schedule in two critical cases involving the law and asked whether Congress would defend it now that the U.S. Department of Justice refuses to do so. The two cases are Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services.
The Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996 by overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate and was then signed by President Bill Clinton. Forty-five states also have laws defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Voters in all 30 states that have sought to affirm marriage as one man and one woman in their state constitutions have overwhelmingly done so.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.