Legally married same-sex couples are now entitled to the same rights and benefits as married straight couples, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday morning.
The historic 5-4 decision strikes down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, rendering that legislation unconstitutional. In writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said DOMA "instructs" that same-sex marriages are "less worthy than others."
"The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity," Kennedy wrote. "By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment."
Dissents were written by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Samuel Alito. Justice Clarence Thomas also dissented.
The court delivered another victory for same-sex couples Wednesday when it dismissed an appeal of a lower court's ruling to overturn California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state. "The ruling permits same-sex couples in California to legally marry," said CNN's Bill Mears.
The decision means that "private parties do not have standing" to defend California's voter-approved ballot measure barring gay and lesbians couples from state-sanctioned wedlock, according to Mears.
Both rulings drew an impassioned response online, including a tweet from the president's account.
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