The Supreme Court has ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and stood with a previous ruling that would effectively overturn California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court had been faced with making decisions on two key rulings about same-sex marriage. One case, from New York, challenged the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which denies federal benefits to gay and lesbian couples that are married in states that allow same-sex marriage. Section three of DOMA, which deals with same-sex marriage, was struck down as unconstitutional by the court in a 5-4 vote. This means that the federal government will have to recognize same-sex marriages in states that allow them.
The other case, from California, challenges Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage that came after the state had already legalized unions through its court system. By a 5-4 vote, the justices held with a previous ruling that the anti same-sex marriage activists who put Proposition 8 on the ballot in 2008 did not have the constitutional authority to defend the law in federal courts after the state refused to appeal its loss at trial. Today was the last day of the term for the Supreme Court and the final day they can make a ruling on the two important cases for this term.