First Word: Huge day for gay Americans

Updated
American University students Sharon Burk (L) and Mollie Wagoner (R) embrace after hearing that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act ...
American University students Sharon Burk (L) and Mollie Wagoner (R) embrace after hearing that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act ...
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Gay rights supporters across the country had reason to celebrate Wednesday after the Supreme Court’s ruling to eliminate the Defense of Marriage Act.

The legislation, signed into law 17 years ago by President Bill Clinton, prohibited those in same-sex marriages from receiving federal protections including disability, housing, and Social Security benefits. In a 5-4 vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy and the four liberal justices on the Supreme Court ruled in favor of 84-year-old plaintiff Edie Windsor, by declaring DOMA unconstitutional. That decision clears the way for legally married same-sex couples to receive full federal benefits.

The high court also paved the way for  gay marriage to resume in California, essentially turning away Prop 8 defenders, on the grounds that they did not have the legal standing to appeal an earlier ruling.

Tonight, we’ll bring you all the reaction and analysis from Wednesday’s landmark SCOTUS decisions. Tune in at 10 pm ET.

First Word: Huge day for gay Americans

Updated