Bill Clinton did many disgraceful things while President having nothing to do with interns. In 1996 he signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Barack Obama ultimately determined that the law discriminates against sexual orientation.
Accordingly, in February 2011, he directed the Justice Department to stop defending DOMA against court challenges.
Section 3 has been found unconstitutional in two federal court cases in Massachusetts and in a California bankruptcy court case. The cases are on appeal and in the absence of the Justice Department, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has stepped into the breach.
In March, a five-person House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group voted along party lines (3-2) to direct the House General Counsel to initiate a legal defense of DOMA. Paul Clement, former Solicitor General in the Bush Administration, was hired at taxpayer expense. The original contract was limited to $500,000 at the rate of $520 per hour.
A new contract raises that cap to $1.5 million.
As Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese put it:
There seems to be no limit to how much taxpayer money the House Republican leadership is willing to spend to keep this discriminatory law on the books. At a time when budgeting is the watchword in Washington, Americans will be rightly aghast at this boondoggle for right-wing lawyers. The Defense of Marriage Act singles out same-sex couples for unfair treatment and no amount of money can overcome the fact that it flies in the face of our cherished constitutional principles.