House Republicans have hired former solicitor general Paul D. Clement to handle the legal defense of the federal government’s law banning the recognition of same-sex marriage, and they want the Justice Department to pick up the legal expenses.

Clement, a partner in the Washington office of the firm King and Spalding, served as the government’s top appellate lawyer for three years under President George W. Bush.

House leaders asked him to step in after Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced this year that the administration would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. Several same-sex couples have sued over the law.

On Monday, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a letter to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) that he would push for the legal expenses to come out of the Justice Department’s budget.

On Monday, the House filed to intervene in a New York case, its first since Holder’s announcement.