The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right.
Justice Samuel Alito, who is expected to hear arguments later this month, will decide whether the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed in 1996, should be upheld as the law of the land.
The DOMA ban bars gay and lesbian couples from legally marrying in 29 states and the District of Columbia.
government, however, has been working to change the law.
DOMA was passed in the wake of the landmark U.N. Supreme court ruling in 1967 that legalized interracial marriage.
Since then, gay marriage has become a hot topic for both religious and non-religious Americans, who have long felt ostracized by society.
The Supreme Court decision will be watched closely by gay rights groups and others in the conservative movement.
DOMa, passed in response to the U.K.’s “gay and lesbian community’s distress at the lack of acceptance from the mainstream of the nation’s view of homosexuality and its implications for the community,” would allow gay couples to marry, but would not include gay sex or the conduct of sexual relations between married couples.
“DOMA is a shameful, and indefensible, extension of a racist, anti-gay law,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder of the National Organization for Marriage, told The Associated Press in a statement.
“This ruling will make it easier for anti-LGBT people to discriminate against LGBT people and will help them justify their discriminatory policies and policies to the courts.”
The DOMa ban was the product of years of lobbying by conservative evangelical groups and politicians.
In 2011, then-candidate and former Texas Gov.
Rick Perry said he would sign DOMA if he was elected president, and he has continued to support it.
Since the Supreme Court’s ruling, some conservative Christians have argued that the court was wrong in its ruling, arguing that the ban was unconstitutional.
Some have called for gay marriage to be legalized across the nation.
Many have also questioned the constitutionality of laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Earlier this month a federal judge ordered the U: Justice Department to provide more information about the federal government’s use of a program called Section 8, which provides vouchers to poor families to move them to a lower-income area.
The lawsuit by the American Christian Legal Association, which represents some of the most prominent conservative Christian leaders, also said the Justice Department is violating the Constitution by refusing to provide information to the court.
“The Justice Department’s refusal to provide us with the information necessary to understand the nature of Section 8 violates the public’s right to know,” the lawsuit states.
The group has previously accused the Obama administration of ignoring their concerns and pushing a “religious exemption” to Section 8.
A federal judge has ordered the Justice Dept. to provide the public more information on the program.
The Trump administration has said that the government is not required to provide such information, and that it will continue to provide financial assistance to poor people moving to areas where there is greater poverty.