This is one committee overruling the entire Congress, McClusky said. How can the federal government defend any case under the Defense of Marriage Act if they can point to this and say, The U.S. Congress recognizes these marriages. How can the federal government not recognize them?Leaving gay couples out of the reporting regimen prevents the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest between a Congressional employees official duties and the financial interests of his partner. But McClusky said that is no different than the current system for heterosexual Congressional employees who are in long-term, unmarried relationships.It is not clear whether the ethics committee intends to edit or amend the instructions that have been removed from the Web sites. For now, both the Clerk of the House and the ethics committee Web sites link to prior-year instruction handbooks that do not include the same-sex language or address updates to the 2009 form.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.