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After DOMA ruling, few fighting words from congressional GOP on gay marriage

One by one, leading Republicans offered statements after the Supreme Court's DOMA ruling that showed they were ready, by and large, to leave the gay marriage fight to the states.

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House Speaker John Boehner, of Ohio, pauses during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday. Boehner did not respond about the Supreme Court's decision during the news conference, saying later Wednesday, he was disappointed in the outcome of the federal marriage case and hoped states continue to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Cliff Owen/AP

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The Defense of Marriage Act evaporated in the US Congress not with a bang but with a whimper on Wednesday, after the US Supreme Court struck down the core of the law, allowing same-sex couples to access federal benefits in states that recognize gay marriage.

There appeared to be no spirit to rejoin the cultural wars over DOMA, a bill that passed Congress with a vast bipartisan majority in 1996 and was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton.

Even House Republicans, whose lawyers defended the law before the court after President Obama’s administration declined, offered no fighting words on gay marriage. One by one, leading Republicans offered statements that showed they were ready, by and large, to leave the marriage rumble to the states.

“A robust national debate over marriage will continue in the public square, and it is my hope that states will define marriage as the union between one man and one woman,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio in a statement.

That’s a sentiment echoed by House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia and a slew of other congressional Republicans including potential presidential hopefuls Sens. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida and Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky.

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