House Republican leaders have agreed to triple the budget for defending in court The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that forbids federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples, gay weekly the Washington Blade reported.

The contract modification, which took effect on October 1, authorizes up to $1.5 million to defend the law.

In March, House Speaker John Boehner appointed and led a committee that instructed House counsel to defend the law in court after the Obama administration announced it would no longer do so. The president has said he believes the law that bans federal recognition of the marriages of gay and lesbian couples is unconstitutional.

The House has retained the legal services of Bancroft LLC attorney Paul Clement.

A spokesman for Boehner asserted that the cost for the litigation would be borne by the Department of Justice, “which is shirking its responsibility to defend the law.”

Clement, and House General Counsel Kerry Kircher, are defending the law in at least 3 cases.

New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, the sponsor of a bill that would repeal DOMA, denounced the move.

“In the current climate of Republican-sponsored deficit hysteria, draconian spending cuts, and an ongoing recession … it is shocking and supremely hypocritical for Republican Leadership to spend additional taxpayer dollars on the unwarranted, unconstitutional and unnecessary defense of DOMA,” said Nadler in a statement.

“It seems that the only jobs program the House is creating is one for high-priced lawyers to defend an unconscionable law.”

“Republican Leadership has exhibited an alarming lack of transparency or good faith in its defense of DOMA, repeatedly ignoring requests for briefings on DOMA defense and refusing to explain to the American people how and for what purpose it is spending the public's money,” he added.