House Republican leaders withdrew Thursday from defending the Defense of Marriage Act and similar statutes in a court case in Massachusetts, citing the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the gay-marriage ban.
In a court filing, the House's Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which played a lead role in attempting to force the Obama administration to enforce DOMA and is controlled by Republicans, said it is withdrawing from McLaughlin v. Panetta — a case in which gay members of the U.S. military challenged the constitutionality of the law and similar statutes when it comes to spousal benefits.
"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 the constitutionality of another statute at issue in the case — known as Title 38 — remains unresolved.
But, it 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."
In short, the House GOP is no longer defending the key portion of DOMA, and it won't defend a statute -- Title 38 -- that features similar language but hasn't technically been struck down yet.
The move isn't terribly surprising, given the Supreme Court's decision. But is significant in that it signals that Republicans have effectively conceded the battle.
Here is the filing: