A federal judge in the US state of Pennsylvania may soon set a trial date for the lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s ban on equal marriage.

Judge John E Jones, of the US District Court in Harrisburg is holding a status conference on the lawsuit, and could therefore set the date for trial soon.

Judge Jones last week 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 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. They incllude a widow, 11 couples and one couple’s two teenage daughters.

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