On March 4, 2011, House Speaker John Boehner announced that he would launch a legal advisory group to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) is a five-member panel consisting of the Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, Majority Whip, Minority Leader and Minority Whip. Under House rules, the advisory group has the authority to instruct the non-partisan office of the House General Counsel to take legal action on behalf of the House of Representatives. Boehner formed the advisory group both in response to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) decision to no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA, which defines marriage for federal purposes as a legal union between one man and one woman. BLAG announced in February 2012 that it will appeal a decision from the US District Court for the Northern District of California that found DOMA unconstitutional.
Learn more about DOMA from the JURIST news archive and read comprehensive coverage of the legal controversy surrounding same sex marriage in Features.