Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to ever be appointed to the US Supreme Court, said this week that it is likely that the court will be ruling on gay marriage sometime in the next year.
She smiled and said she couldn't answer because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) would probably be coming before the court soon.
'I think it's most likely that we will have that issue before the court toward the end of the current term,' Ginsburg said.
In 1996, DOMA passed Congress and was signed into law by then President Bill Clinton. The law keeps the US government from recognizing same-sex marriages, even in states where gay marriage is legal. Couples cannot file joint federal tax returns or receive survivor benefits. Presently same sex marriage is only legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia.
Last year, President Barack Obama informed the Justice Department not to defend the constitutionality of DOMA in courts. If a president does not defend a law, the House of Representatives may do so.
In July, Speaker of the House John Boehner made a formal request for the Supreme Court to hear appeals of DOMA.