House Speaker John Boehner has moved to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.

Boehner announced on Friday a five-member panel to consider whether to instruct the House's nonpartisan Office of the General Counsel to defend the law.

Obama announced last week that his administration would no longer defend the 1996 law that bans federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples and allows states to ignore such marriages from out of state. The president said he believes parts of the law are unconstitutional.

The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group includes three Republicans – Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy – and two Democrats – Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

"It is regrettable that the Obama Administration has opened this divisive issue at a time when Americans want their leaders to focus on jobs and the challenges facing our economy," Boehner said in a statement. "The constitutionality of this law should be determined by the courts — not by the president unilaterally — and this action by the House will ensure the matter is addressed in a manner consistent with our Constitution.”

Pelosi vowed to vote against allowing the House to defend DOMA.

"This legislation has long raised constitutional questions and has long been viewed as a violation of the equal protection clause," Pelosi said in a statement. "That’s why I voted against it on the floor, and that’s why I oppose Speaker Boehner’s effort to put the House in the position of defending this indefensible statute."