House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has hired a Bush administration lawyer in the legal battle over the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA.
The law defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
Boehner has asked former Solicitor General Paul Clement to defend it in court and he has also asked the U.S. Justice Department to pay for the defense.
In a letter Monday to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Ohio Republican says he shares her concern over the cost of defending the law in court and intends to "redirect" some of the department's money to the House as repayment.
Attorney General Eric Holder previously refused to defend the the law, saying it was unconstitutional. A special House panel voted along partisan lines to take up that responsibility.
Legal experts say it's the job of the Justice Department to defend all U.S. laws in court.
"President Obama, he's not a king. He can't go around and say 'You know what, Eric Holder and I decided it's not constitutional, so we're not going to defend a law of the country anymore," said Jordan Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice.
The National Organization for Marriage praised Boehner's decision to hire Clement. The group said Clement is "a genuinely distinguished lawyer.who we are confident will win this case."