House panel holds ‘Defense of Marriage’ hearing
House Republicans organized a subcommittee hearing Friday on the Obama administration’s decision to limit its defense of DOMA in certain courts, and Democrats came out swinging.
The new Republican chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Trent Franks, relied on two high-profile political opponents of same-sex marriage at his hearing on Defending Marriage.
One was the head of the National Organization for Marriage, Maggie Gallagher. The other was Ed Whelan, from a conservative think tank. Whelan claimed the Obama administration’s curtailing its defense of DOMA was the culmination of a long-standing strategy by President Obama to promote same-sex marriage.
Whelan: “I think one would have to be very naïve to think anything other than a stealth strategy of step-by-step, the administration is doing whatever it can to promote same-sex marriage and to induce the courts to adopt that approach.”
But Democrats pushed back hard against both witnesses. Ranking Democrat Jerrold Nadler pointed out to Gallagher two children in the hearing room who had same-sex parents:
Nadler: “How would you explain to children like McKinley and Brianna who are here with us with their parents today that their family is not deserving and should be excluded from the protections and benefits of marriage, including the important confirmation that the federal government considers them a family. Or do you consider these children expendable?”
Gallagher said no child is expendable and defended her position against same-sex marriage, saying she was an unwed mother and understands what it’s like to be in a non-marital family.
Franks said the House would hold an oversight hearing on the Justice Department position next month.
–Lisa Keen, Keen News Service