US: House Speaker announces intention to sue Obama over abuse of executive powers

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Republican House Speaker John Boehner has announced that he intends to sue President Barack Obama for an abuse of executive power.

The news comes shortly after the president confirmed plans for an Executive Order against anti-gay workplace discrimination.

In a memo to the Republican House caucus, Speaker Boehner warned against “giving the president king-like authority at the expense of the American people and their elected legislators”.

He wrote: “President Obama has circumvented the Congress through executive action, creating his own laws and excusing himself from executing statutes he is sworn to enforce – at times even boasting about his willingness to do it, as if daring the America people to stop him.”

His memo detailed use of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), which Mr Boehner last convened to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

President Obama’s use of executive action is the result of a divided Congress, in which Republicans have been able to block much of his planned legislature.

Although Mr Boehner’s letter did not explicitly name specific acts as unconstitutional, the president’s support of LGBT rights has increasingly been a point of contention with Mr Boehner and the Republican Party.

Last week, the White House confirmed President Obama’s plans to sign an Executive Order banning homophobic workplace discrimination among federal contractors, partly in response to the lack of progress on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

ENDA, which was passed by the US Senate last year, has since been blocked by Republicans in the House of Representatives. It has started to lose the support of LGBT rights activists after increasing concessions to religious groups.

The president called out the Republican stalling of ENDA in his proclamation of June 2014 as a national LGBT Pride Month, to mark the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

Although Boehner has said that the Republican Party should support gay candidates, last year he told ABC News that he couldn’t “imagine [his] position would ever change” on equal marriage.

Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign praised President Obama for mentioning the word ‘gay’ more than any other president, saying: “Words matter an enormous amount, and when President Obama uses his platform to declare that LGBT people are just as American as anyone else, it has a huge and historic effect.”