House defense of DOMA gave court grounds to strike it down

When House Speaker John Boehner, supported by former Sacto Rep. Dan Lungren, decided to defend DOMA when President Obama and AG Holder refused, little did they know that they would provide the justification for the Supreme Court to strike down the law on sweeping equal protection and due process grounds, setting the stage for marriage equality in all 50 states.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 majority, said the “able defense” of the law by Paul Clement, hired by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group dominated by Republican leaders with furious opposition from minority leader Nancy Pelosi, at a cost of millions to taxpayers, 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. This goes down as a case of the dog catching the car.

Carolyn Lochhead