Eric Cantor
Charles Krupa  /  AP
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor holds up a copy of the Harvard Gazette, featuring a story on innovation by their students during an address at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge on Thursday.
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updated 2/25/2011 8:44:37 AM ET 2011-02-25T13:44:37

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says he was "taken aback" by President Barack Obama ordering his administration to stop defending the constitutionality of a federal law that bans recognition of gay marriage.

Video: Obama, DOJ won’t defend DOMA

The Virginia Republican said Thursday that he'd never been around when a president decided not to defend a law on the books. He says the U.S. Congress is mulling its options on the 15-year-old Defense of Marriage Act.

Cantor made his comments in response to a question following a speech at Harvard University.

Video: Obama ‘grappling’ with issue of gay marriage (on this page)

Cantor also says the House budget will include proposals on how to curb spending on programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Hundreds of students gathered outside to protest Cantor's visit, faulting Republicans for deep cuts to programs like global health initiatives and AmeriCorps.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Obama ‘grappling’ with issue of gay marriage

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