SCOTUS May Rule on DOMA Soon

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 20 2012 9:46 AM

Justice Ginsburg Sees DOMA Ruling in Her Near Future

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The U.S. Supreme Court

Photograph by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images.

During a Q-and-A with students at the University of Colorado yesterday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested that the high court will likely decide soon whether the law that bars federal recognition of same-sex couples is constitutional.

How soon? Likely within the year.

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Ginsburg was asked a question about whether the equal-protection clause would be applied to the Defense of Marriage Act. The Associated Press with her answer, or rather lack thereof:

Ginsburg said with a smile that she couldn't answer the question. She said she could not talk about matters that would come to the court, and that the Defense of Marriage Act would probably be up soon. "I think it's most likely that we will have that issue before the court toward the end of the current term," she said.

Congress passed DOMA in 1996 when Hawaii seemed close to legalizing gay marriage. The law effectively halted the movement at the time but more than a half-dozen states have legalized it since, and a growing number of lower courts have taken issue with key provisions in the law. Several other states, meanwhile, have passed their own, individually-crafted bans on same-sex unions. 

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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