Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) urged House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday not to waste money on appointing a special counsel to protect the Defense of Marriage Act in court now that the Justice Department won’t defend it.
“It is in the best interests of taxpayers and the Constitution for you to refrain from appointing special counsel to defend this law,” wrote Gillibrand in a letter to Boehner obtained by POLITICO. “A decision to appoint special counsel would be an unnecessary cost to taxpayers, and would detract from our shared goal of cutting wasteful spending and creating jobs.”
After the Justice Department announced last week that they will no longer defend the 15-year-old law, which allows states to decide whether to recognize same-sex unions from other states, House Republicans said they would fight back to protect the law.
Boehner told the Christian Broadcasting Network in a taped interview that House Republicans were considering appointing a special counsel. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters Monday that Republicans would announce their plans to defend the law by Friday.
But Gillibrand, who has become outspoken gay rights supporter during her two-year tenure in the Senate, implored Boehner not to use any taxpayer funds to support these legal efforts, especially given the current budget crisis.
“At this critical economic juncture in our nation’s history, it is imperative that we as legislators do not devote resources to defending an antiquated and unconstitutional law,” wrote Gillibrand. “The appointment of special counsel and pursuit of this case is a drain on resources, time and energy and is not in America’s economic and social interests.”