Lawmakers are weighing in on President Barack Obama's decision to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.

Facing a March 11 deadline to respond to two legal challenges to the 1996 law that bans federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples, Obama on Wednesday directed the Department of Justice to end its defense of the law.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the decision bad timing.

“While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending the president will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation,” said Boehner Spokesman Michael Steel.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California and a staunch supporter of gay rights, praised the decision.

“Thrilled @TheJusticeDept is no longer defending an indefensible statute-all American families should be treated equally! #DOMA,” Pelosi tweeted to her nearly 44,000 followers.

Other Democrats agreed.

“I applaud today's decision by the Justice Department to stand on the right side of history and end its support of the disgraceful Defense of Marriage Act,” Illinois Representative Mike Quigley said in a statement. “It is my hope that this momentum carries us to a full dismantling of the Defense of Marriage Act and a new era of civil rights for every American.”

“This marks the first time that the federal government has recognized that a law to harm LGBT Americans and their families cannot be justified,” New York Representative Jerrold Nadler said in a statement.

Nadler added that he'll reintroduce a bill that would repeal DOMA.

“I urge all of my colleagues to join me in this effort,” he said.