Boehner ‘disappointed’ after effort to defend DOMA fails in court

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act dealt a defeat to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who stepped in to mount a legal defense of the law.

Boehner had provided funding to defend the Defense of Marriage Act after the Obama administration halted its own defense of its constitutionality. 

In a statement, the Speaker said he was "disappointed" in the court's 5-4 ruling, but defended the House's decision to participate in the case.

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“Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis and President Clinton signed it into law. The House intervened in this case because the constitutionality of a law should be judged by the Court, not by the president unilaterally,” Boehner said in a statement.

“While I am obviously disappointed in the ruling, it is always critical that we protect our system of checks and balances. A robust national debate over marriage will continue in the public square, and it is my hope that states will define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”

House Democrats had sharply criticized Republican leaders for spending millions in taxpayer dollars to defend the law.

The office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) kept a running tab of the taxpayer cost of the GOP's legal defense, and on Wednesday said the total had reached $2.3 million.

Earlier Wednesday, Boehner said at a press conference that GOP leaders are still reviewing another major Supreme Court ruling that struck down part of the Voting Rights Act.

“The Voting Rights Act has played an important role over the last 40 years,” Boehner said. “We are reviewing this decision and trying to determine what the proper steps forward are going to be.”

The high court ruled on Tuesday that the formula the U.S. uses to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act is outdated and invalid and instructed Congress to write a new one.

— Mike Lillis contributed.

This story was updated at 11:49 a.m.