House Speaker John Boehner is expected to file his first brief on Monday in a federal court in New York in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Clinton-era law that bans federal recognition of the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

A Boehner-appointed and -led committee instructed House council to defend the law in court after the Obama administration decided it would no longer defend a law it considers unconstitutional.

“I don't think the House had any choice but to take the position that we were going to defend the work of the Congress,” Boehner told reporters earlier this month. “And only the courts are in the position of determining the constitutionality of any bill.”

But the fact that Boehner did not take the issue to the House floor suggests the speaker isn't convinced the House majority would back him.

Further evidence on the lack of support from Republicans can be found at a Friday GOP-controlled House subcommittee hearing on the issue, in which the only Republican on the subcommittee in attendance was the panel's chairman, Arizona Republican Representative Trent Franks.

“The president and the administration had a duty to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, but powerful constituencies of the president did not want the president to defend it. And unfortunately, politics trumped duty,” Frank said at the hearing.

House counsel will defend the law in a New York case in which a lesbian got an estate tax bill of more than $360,000 after her legal wife died.

In at least two federal rulings, courts have declared portions of DOMA unconstitutional.