In a court filing Thursday, House Republican leaders announced that they would no longer defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and similar statutes that ban gay marriage.

Last month, the Supreme Court struck down a provision of DOMA that prohibited the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples. Lawyers for the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), which is controlled by the House GOP majority, argued the case before the high court.

“[T]he House has determined, in light of the Supreme Court's opinion in Windsor, that it no longer will defend the statute,” BLAG lawyers wrote in their filing, first reported. “Accordingly, the House now seeks leave to withdraw as a party defendant.”

Plaintiffs in the case, gay military veterans, challenged DOMA and the two statutes in Title 38 of the U.S. Code which also defined marriage as a heterosexual union for the purpose of benefits.

Gay rights groups cheered the news.

“After millions of taxpayer dollars wasted defending discrimination, it's a historic sign of the times that the House leadership is dropping its pointless quest to maintain second-class status for lesbian and gay couples,” said HRC President Chad Griffin in a statement.

Evan Wofson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, added: “It took a Supreme Court ruling, but House Republicans have finally taken a step toward joining the majority of Americans who have come to understand that marriage does not need defending from committed couples – and that, as Dick Cheney put it, 'freedom means freedom for everyone.'”