Republicans exhaust marriage act defence fund

By Jonathan Ames

22 October 2012 at 10:47 BST

Republican law makers are running out of money in their bid to defend controversial legislation that defines marriage as a heterosexual union, with the specialist law firm instructed nearing its billing cap.

Nancy Pelosi: 'Consign act to history'

Washington DC-based Bancroft has billed nearly $1.5 million in its intervention in 14 cases involving the Defence of Marriage Act, which was passed in 1996, with six going to the federal courts, and all losing.


The most recent set-back came only last week, when the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York ruled that the legislation breached equality provisions and was effectively unconstitutional.
Following that ruling, according to the Legal Times, Democrats in the House of Representatives released figures showing that their Republican counterparts had this year allocated some $750,000 of public funds in legal fees defending the act. The two-year deal with Bancroft is understood to be capped at twice that figure, with the bill currently hovering just $50,000 shy of that mark.

Patriot Act

Bancroft’s principle lawyer is the Vietnamese-born Harvard law graduate and former assistant US Attorney General Viet Dinh. The lawyer is renowned for his conservative social views as well as for having been instrumental in drafting the highly controversial US Patriot Act, which came into law weeks after the terror attacks on New York and Washington in 2001. He is also currently a law professor at Washington’s Georgetown University.
According to the Legal Times, House Democrat minority leader Nancy Pelosi called on the Republicans to stop funding defence of the marriage legislation. ‘It is time for the Speaker and Congressional Republicans to drop their frivolous, taxpayer-funded lawsuits without any delay. When they do, we will all look forward to the day when [the act] is relegated to the dustbin of history once and for all.’


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