WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama may not want to talk about gay marriage, but House Democrats are ready to fire up the base on the issue.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday sent an email to supporters urging them to sign a petition that condemns House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court.
The email lands on a day when the White House is scrambling to keep the public's attention on Obama's record on gay rights -- which includes no longer defending DOMA in court -- and not on his elusive position on gay marriage.
"I was proud when the Obama administration stopped defending the discriminatory 'Defense of Marriage Act' (DOMA) after the Justice Department concluded that the law was unconstitutional. It is imperative that all Americans receive equal protection under the law -- including our LGBT men and women in uniform and their spouses," the DCCC email reads. "That's why I was shocked to hear that Speaker John Boehner decided to use our tax dollars to intervene and stand up for DOMA to deny LGBT Americans the rights they deserve. This is discrimination -- plain and simple."
"We can't afford to waste taxpayer money on Boehner’s bigotry."
The email links out to a petition that criticizes Boehner and other House Republican leaders for spending as much as $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars to defend the ban. The petition also knocks GOP leaders for intervening in cases affecting military veterans receiving benefits for their partners.
"No one who risks their lives for their country should have to return home to face prejudice from our nation’s elected leaders," the petition reads. "Tell Boehner and Cantor: Stop spending millions of taxpayer dollars defending the discriminatory 'Defense of Marriage Act.'"
House Republicans began defending DOMA in April 2011 after Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the administration found the law to be unconstitutional and would no longer defend it in court. Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) took over its defense.
A Boehner spokesman declined to comment.