With the Supreme Court having recently decided to hear two same-sex marriage cases, Roll Call reports:
House Republicans quietly have raised the value of a contract with a private law firm that is handling the chamber’s Supreme Court defense of a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren, R-Calif., signed off in September on a $500,000 increase in the maximum value of the contract with the firm, Washington-based Bancroft PLLC. Republicans have raised the cap of the contract twice: first on Sept. 29, 2011, from its original maximum of $500,000 to $1.5 million, and again on Sept. 28 to its new maximum of $2 million. . . .
Republicans have been forced to raise the contract’s maximum value as legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act have mounted in courts across the country. The GOP-led House is defending the measure because the Obama administration decided in February 2011 that it views the statute as unconstitutional and will no longer do so.
The Supreme Court agreed on Dec. 7 to evaluate the constitutionality of the statute, which prevents same-sex couples who are married legally under state law from receiving a host of federal benefits. The court is expected to hear arguments in March, with a decision likely by the end of June.