John Boehner was re-elected yesterday by a narrow margin, with nine Republicans voting against him and a handful of others refusing to cast a vote one way or another.
The headlines yesterday were mostly about Boehner himself and the balance of power in the Republican party, which faces a new battle with Obama over the federal debt limit and spending cuts needed to bring down the deficit. But the real story was buried in the fine print:
Along with Boehner’s reelection, the House also voted on some other miscellaneous items, including the decision to keep providing funding for House lawyers to continue fighting for the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a heterosexual-only institution at the federal level—even though the Justice Department will no longer defend it as constitutional and the Supreme Court has agreed to rule on it this spring.
The vote to keep funding a legal battle against same-sex marriage came just a day after the House voted to deny funding for the Violence Against Women act for the first time in 20 years, because it included provisions this year to help protect Native Americans, LGBT people and undocumented immigrants.
New York Times notes the House’s decision to keep funding the Defense of Marriage Act fight “enraged Democrats who see it as a frivolous expenditure of tax dollars,” especially for a party who argues against spending at every turn.
Those are the priorities of the House GOP: they’ll spend to make sure gay people can’t marry each other, but not to help protect women from violence. Nice.