The House's four openly gay representatives – Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Jared Polis of Colorado, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and David Cicilline of Rhode Island – have joined with Jerrold Nadler of New York and John Conyers of Michigan to condemn House Speaker John Boehner's decision to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

On Wednesday, a five-member panel appointed by Boehner voted 3-2 along party lines to instruct the House's nonpartisan Office of the General Counsel to defend the 1996 law, now that President Barack Obama won't.

Obama decided that his administration would no longer defend the 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.

Nadler, who recently announced he would reintroduce his 2009 bill to repeal the law, and the five other lawmakers denounced the decision as partisan politics.

“This 3-2 vote, carried over the vigorous objection of House Democratic Leaders and structured to avoid a vote of the House as a whole, is partisanship at its worst,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

The lawmakers added that they supported the president in his decision to no longer defend the Clinton-era law.

“The President correctly concluded that the Defense of Marriage Act cannot and should not be defended in court. It has been 15 years since Congress enacted DOMA, and the myths and stereotypes used to support its enactment have been shattered. Married gay and lesbian couples pay taxes, serve their communities, struggle to balance work and family, raise children and care for aging parents. Their contributions and needs are no different than anyone else’s. The majority of Americans understand this and now favor extending the time-honored tradition of marriage to loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. There is no legitimate reason for the federal government to continue denying married gay and lesbian couples the legal security, rights and responsibilities that recognition of their marriages would provide.”

“Rather than seeking to defend this law in court, House Republican Leaders should work with us to repeal DOMA. This action debunks House Republican Leadership’s claim of being the so-called guarantor of states’ rights. House Republican Leaders seem only to favor states’ rights when it suits them ideologically. Rather than recognizing every states’ married couples equally, Section 3 of DOMA refuses to recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples from five states and the District of Columbia. Those states have a clear interest in ensuring that all of their married couples receive the same recognition under federal law. Certainly, Republican Leadership is not acting in these states’ interests.”