The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has hired Paul Clement, the former solicitor general during George W. Bush’s presidency, to pick up the ball and defend the law that defined marriage as between a man and woman.
The Obama administration decided in February to drop its defense of the 15-year-old law, which was hailed by gay rights advocates but widely panned by many senior Republicans infuriated that the Justice Department would no longer defend the law in court and called it a political move.
In one case in Boston, a federal judge struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act banning gay marriages as unconstitutional.
But the Obama administration had initially appealed those rulings, saying it typically defends lawyers on the books. Now the Justice Department says it agreed with the judge’s ruling.
House Republican Speaker John Boehner has sought funds from the Justice Department’s budget to pay for the defense, but Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has demanded details about the expected cost, including details about the contract retaining Clement.