House GOP lawyers finally give up on defending DOMA

After the Supreme Court decision, the attorneys who defended the law have withdrawn from a related case

By Jillian Rayfield
Published July 18, 2013 9:35PM (EDT)

Lawyers for House Republicans have withdrawn from a case in Massachusetts in which they were defending the Defense of Marriage Act and a similar statute, citing the Court's holding that the law is unconstitutional.

The House’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group began defending DOMA once the Department of Justice announced that it  no longer would, though House Republican leadership voted to take up the case instead.

The case, McLaughlin v. Panetta, was a challenge to the constitutionality of DOMA on behalf of gay and lesbian members of the military and veterans who were being denied benefits.

The Washington Post reports:

“The Supreme Court recently resolved the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality,” the House GOP’s lawyers write. ”The Windsor decision necessarily resolves the issue of DOMA Section 3’s constitutionality in this case.”

The document goes on to say that another statute at issue in the case — known as Title 38 — remains unresolved,  but says “the House has determined, in light of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Windsor, that it no longer will defend that statute. Accordingly, the House now seeks leave to withdraw as a party defendant.”

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

MORE FROM Jillian Rayfield

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group Doma House Republicans Massachusetts Supreme Court