When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told a group of students that the Supreme Court would probably hear challenges during its upcoming term to the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages, she confirmed what many observers were already thinking: The nation’s high court is poised to weigh in on the battle over same-sex marriage.
While answering questions from students at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Ginsburg was asked Wednesday about the equal protection clause and if the court might consider applying it to sexual orientation, an argument used in challenges to DOMA, the 1996 federal law that denies various benefits to same-sex couples.
Though she said she couldn’t discuss matters that would come to the court, she also said, according to The Associated Press: “I think it’s most likely that we will have that issue before the court toward the end of the current term.”
The justices have been asked to hear five different challenges to DOMA that have been decided in lower courts, said Brian Moulton, legal director of Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.
But just one of those, Windsor v. U.S. out of New York state, was listed for the court’s conference on Sept. 24, when they had a first look at a range of cases seeking to be heard by the justices this year. They may hold that case until they have all of the DOMA challenges in front of them to consider, but Ginsburg’s comments reinforced what they were hoping for, Moulton told NBC News.