U.S. House Republicans, a unique breed of primates who believe the only way to balance the national budget is to control spending, don't mind throwing our money away when it helps promote one of their hateful values. After President Obama announced several weeks ago that he would direct the Department of Justice to quit defending the "Defense of Marriage Act," (DOMA) because the homophobic piece of hate legislation is obviously unconstitutional, Republicans in the House took it upon themselves to offer a half-million-dollar contract to a private law firm to defend their law in court. And to frost the cake, they were able to do it in Committee without even allowing the House to know about it or vote on the expenditure.
California Republican Representative Dan Lungren, the chairman of the House Administration Committee, pushed the funding through his committee. The lucky recipient of the public money will be Paul Clement, an Atlanta lawyer and former Solicitor General under George Bush.
No vote, no competitive bidding, no problem.
There are some really good challenges to DOMA already heading to court. Karen Golinski, a San Franciscan who has worked for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for nearly two decades, is suing because her wife has been denied federal health benefits under this law that was drafted by America's "family values" party. Three members of the California Public Employee's Retirement System are also suing in the Ninth Circuit because their same-sex spouses were denied enrollment in the retirement system's long-term care insurance program.
Edith Windsor is suing in the state of New York following the death of her female spouse. They were married in Canada and the state of New York officially recognized the marriage. But - and there always seems to be a "but" - when the spouse died, the Internal Revenue Service, long a bane of conservative politicians, stepped in and demanded estate taxes of $363,000 that would not have been levied on a heterosexual couple. And that is so rich in irony because Republicans tend to despise estate taxes - often referring to them in the pejorative as "death taxes."
Five states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriages - and more will follow this year. Young Americans recognize that there is nothing in the concept of gay marriage that threatens their own sexuality or way of life. The world is changing, whether Republicans like that notion or not - and no amount of "our" money is going to be able to stop society's march toward social justice.