Today, the country bid a not-so-fond farewell to the 112th Congress (including Denny Rehberg), and swore in the new 113th Congress with Steve Daines.
What was the first thing this shiny new Congress did?
Well, Daines, who ran on a “more jobs, less government” platform, cast one of his first votes in favor of the House continuing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) which denies hundreds of benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
Apparently when Daines said “more jobs” he meant “more jobs for lawyers defending blatantly unconstitutional archaic laws.”
DOMA is the Clinton-era law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions. This law denies benefits to the same-sex partners of military members killed while fighting for our country. It also prohibits the federal government from recognizing bi-national same-sex couples in immigration cases, which has led to several high-profile deportations. It also refuses to acknowledge same-sex spouses in relation to Social Security survivor benefits.
This law is clearly unconstitutional, which is why in early 2011 the Obama administration’s Department of Justice announced they would no longer defend the law. Our illustrious House members though chose to pick up the torch of bigotry and continued to defend the law at the taxpayer’s expense. Thus far, Steve Daines, John Boehner and the Republicans in the House have spent more than $1.7 million defending this law.
The latest expenditure in support of DOMA was actually buried within the House of Representative rules that the new Congress approved today. Generally these rules simply lay out the process for how the House will run. To bury an appropriation inside this bill is an unprecedented abuse of the process.
This is just the latest example of the clear hypocrisy of Daines and his tea party colleagues advocating for smaller government except for when they don’t.
DOMA, ruled as unconstitutional ten different times in seven different cases, will face the US Supreme Court later this year.