WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder has defended the Justice Department’s performance on issues like gay rights and trafficking in prescription drugs under pointed questioning by newly energized Republicans who have taken control of the House.
At a four-hour appropriations subcommittee hearing, Holder was criticized for the administration’s decision to stop defending the constitutionality of a federal law banning recognition of gay marriage.
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The panel’s chairman, Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia says the decision was inappropriate and appeared to be politically motivated.
Holder says the step taken last week was unusual, but is appropriate because lower courts have declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and the legal landscape on gay rights has changed since DOMA became law 15 years ago.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.