The Supreme Court has ruled that a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, The New York Times reports.
In a 5-4 vote Wednesday morning, the court struck down a portion of the 1996 law that previously denied federal benefits to married same-sex couples. "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," Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote. "By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than other, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment."
The decision will not alter any state laws governing same-sex marriage, but rather extends federal benefits afforded to heterosexual married couples to legally married same-sex couples. After the ruling, President Barack Obama tweeted: "Today's DOMA ruling is a historic step forward for #MarriageEquality #LoveIsLove"
The court also on Wednesday dismissed an appeal regarding Proposition 8, California's ban on gay marriage. The move allows legal same-sex marriage to resume in the state.