Category: US Politics / June 26, 2013 5:50 PM EDT
The U.S. Supreme Court handed a significant victory to gay rights advocates on Wednesday (June 26) by recognizing that married gay men and women are eligible for federal benefits and paving the way for same-sex marriage in California.
The court, however, fell short of a landmark ruling endorsing a fundamental right for gay people to marry.
The two cases, both decided on 5-4 votes, concerned the constitutionality of a key part of a federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), that denied benefits to same-sex married couples and a California state law enacted in 2008, called Proposition 8, that banned gay marriage.
"Today, the United States Supreme Court in two important decisions brings us that much closer to true equality. The the decision striking the law as unconstitutional the so-called DOMA or Defense of Marriage Case, the United States Supreme Court held that there was no purpose for depriving gay and lesbian couples of the right to marry the person they love. There was no legitimate justification for that," said David Boies, who represented the plaintiffs in the California Proposition 8 case.
The Supreme Court rulings come amid rapid progress for advocates of gay marriage in recent months and years in the United States and internationally. Opinion polls show a steady increase in U.S. public support for gay marriage.
Video Credit: Reuters