Boehner Launches Effort to Defend Same-Sex Marriage Ban

March 4, 2011 - 4:58 PM

Washington (AP) - House Speaker John Boehner says he's launching a legal defense of the federal law against gay marriage. The Ohio Republican announced Friday that he was convening a bipartisan legal advisory group to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. President Barack Obama has refused to defend the law signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996.

The leaders can instruct the House's non-partisan general counsel to take legal action on behalf of the chamber.

Attorney General Eric Holder has said that the Justice Department would continue to enforce the law but no longer would defend its constitutionality.

The Supreme Court has not ruled on the matter, but last year a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled the law unconstitutional.