In a filing asking the Supreme Court to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as constitutional, House Republicans argue that gays are a politically powerful group.

DOMA is the 1996 law which prevents federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples, thereby denying them access to federal benefits and protections extended to married heterosexual couples.

DOMA was enacted by lawmakers to specifically deny federal recognition to gay couples.

Yet, House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, top Republican lawmakers who do not support gay rights, argued that as a group gays have too much political cloud to deserve the court's protection.

“In short, gays and lesbians are one of the most influential, best-connected, best-funded, and best organized interest groups in modern politics, and have attained more legislative victories, political power, and popular favor in less time than virtually any other group in American history,” wrote attorney Paul Clement, who represents the House majority. “Gays and lesbians not only have the attention of lawmakers, they are winning many legislative battles. And the importance of this factor in the analysis cannot be gainsaid. . . . [G]iven that the ultimate inquiry focuses on whether a group needs the special intervention of the courts or whether issues should be left for the democratic process, the political strength of gays and lesbians in the political process should be outcome determinative here.”

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in March and is expected to hand down a ruling in June.

(Related: Prop 8 backers urge Supreme Court to uphold gay marriage ban.)