Supreme Court expands benefits to same-sex couples - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Supreme Court expands benefits to same-sex couples

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WASHINGTON (NBC) -

The Supreme Court issued two major rulings Wednesday on same sex marriage.

The high court ruled the federal defense of marriage act unconstitutional and dismissed an attempt to revive California's same sex marriage ban.

The major ruling Wednesday is about federal benefits but same sex marriage supporters see a much wider victory.

From San Francisco's city hall to the highest court in the land gay right supporter cheered the high court's decision.

In a 5-4 decision written by swing Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court found the Defense of Marriage Act violated the equal protection clause.

The 1996 law defined marriage as between a man and a woman and banned federal benefits to same-sex couples.

That principal guarantees the right of every person in every state to marriage equality, said attorney David Boies who argued against the prop 8 ban.

Opponents of same sex marriage say their fight isn't over.

The Supreme Court has no authority when comes to nature of marriage, Rob Schenck of the Evangelical Church Alliance said.

The ruling does not guarantee a right to same-sex marriage, it just forces the government to recognize such unions in states where they've been declared legal.

In a related but narrower decision the court ruled against supporters of a same-sex marriage ban in California - saying they didn't have the legal standing to file their appeal to the high court.

That means a lower court's ruling against proposition eight stands and same-sex marriage will once again legal in California.

While Wednesday's ruling applies only to thirteen states, same sex marriage supporters consider them landmarks.

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