The Republican-controlled US House of Representatives will fight to keep a ban on the federal Government recognising same-sex marriages performed by US states.
The Republicans acted after the Obama Administration declared part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which stops any federal benefits from going to same-sex couples, to be unconstitutional, and that the Government would no longer defend it in court.
Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives, where they had held a majority since 2006, at the mid-term elections in 2010.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner said he would seek to make the Department of Justice (DOJ) fund the court battle it was unwilling to take up itself.
“Obviously, DOJ’s decision results in DOJ no longer needing the funds it would have otherwise expended defending the constitutionality of DOMA,” Boehner wrote to Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi.
“It is my intent that those funds be diverted to the House for reimbursement of any costs incurred by and associated with the House, and not DOJ, defending DOMA.”
The Republicans have hired Paul Clement, a former US Solicitor General, to represent them.
Clement was appointed to the role in 2005 by then president George W. Bush, replacing Theodore Olson — the lawyer representing the case for same-sex marriage in California.