House counsel to defend gay marriage ban in court

The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 9, 2011; 8:12 PM

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner says the House counsel will defend the federal ban on gay marriage, now that the Obama administration won't.

A five-member House panel on Wednesday voted 3-2 along party lines to direct the House counsel to come up with a legal defense for the 1996 law. The Obama administration has directed the Justice Department to stop defending the law in court because, White House officials believe, it is unconstitutional.

Boehner said the law's constitutionality should be decided by a court, not by the president. Meanwhile, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who voted against the directive, says the defense will be lengthy and expensive.

© 2011 The Associated Press