Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday filed an amicus brief in support of plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that bars federal agencies and the military from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

The filing is supported by 132 House Democrats, including Representatives Steny Hoyer, James Clyburn, Jerrold Nadler, John Conyers, Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis and David Cicilline.

The brief argues that Congress acted hastily in approving DOMA.

“When Congress enacted DOMA in 1996, gay and lesbian couples could not marry anywhere in the world. Bowers v. Hardwick was still good law, inviting discrimination as a means of expressing moral disapproval of lesbians and gay men. In this atmosphere, many were reluctant to speak openly about themselves or their families,” the lawmakers' brief reads.

“DOMA's proponents capitalized on this, portraying the possibility of same-sex couples joining in marriage as a concerted attack by 'homosexual extremists' on heterosexual marriage and exhorting Congress to act quickly to preempt this possibility.”

The brief was filed in two cases being heard in the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

The filing makes it clear that the House is divided on the issue. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, has authorized up to $1.5 million to defend the law in court.