Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said the committee can’t afford to respond to every legal challenge to DOMA.
“Bankruptcy cases are unlikely to provide the path to the Supreme Court, where we imagine the question of constitutionality will ultimately be decided,” Buck said. “Obviously we believe the statute is constitutional in all its applications, including bankruptcy, but effectively defending it does not require the House to intervene in every case, especially when doing so would be prohibitively expensive.”
Clement and the committee have responded to at least seven separate legal challenges across the country, lawyers said.
Without hearing a detailed defense of the 15-year-old law, Judge Donovan ruled Monday the Defense of Marriage Act violates the couple’s equal protection guarantees. He added there is “no valid governmental basis for DOMA.”
Nineteen of Donovan’s 23 colleagues on the Los Angeles bankruptcy court signed the opinion. The couple’s lawyer, Robert Pfister, said that’s significant because it shows an overwhelming majority of that court is prepared to rule similarly.
“Litigating constitutional issues takes a lot of time and money,” Pfister said. “To have 20 judges sign on sends a strong message that almost the entire bench has decided this important constitutional issue.”