A federal judge yesterday rejected arguments that the court has no authority over equal marriage, to say that Pennsylvania must go to trial to defend its ban on equal marriage.

District Judge John E Jones ruled that the state of Pennsylvania must defend the ban, despite assertions by the state that his court had no authority to rule in the case.

The ruling means a lawsuit will go ahead for a trial without a jury.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was struck down by the US SUpreme Court in June, however Pennsylvania law defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

The plaintiffs in the case argue that the law violates constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.

A 1996 state law defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The judge overseeing a challenge to Pennsylvania’s ban on equal marriage, last month paused before setting a trial date in the case.

US District Judge John Jones III said he needed time to consider and rule on pre-trial motions, before setting a date for a hearing