UPDATE: 2 Court Rulings Are Victories For Gay Marriage Supporter - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: 2 Court Rulings Are Victories For Gay Marriage Supporters

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Obama telephones Calif. gay marriage plaintiffs

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has telephoned his congratulations to the plaintiffs in a gay marriage case before the Supreme Court.
    
Obama telephoned gay rights advocate Chad Griffin, who had the couple in a California gay marriage case listen in.
    
The White House confirmed that Obama placed the call as he flew to Africa aboard Air Force One.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has issued a pair of significant but incomplete victories for supporters of gay marriage.
    
In one 5-to-4 ruling, the court struck down a provision of a federal law that denied federal benefits to gay married couples. The provision of the Defense of Marriage Act kept legally-married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits that go to married couples of the opposite sex.
    
In the other, also a 5-to-4 ruling, the justices said nothing at all about same-sex marriage itself. But they left in place a finding by a trial court that California's Proposition 8 -- banning same-sex marriage -- is unconstitutional.
    
That's an outcome that will probably allow California officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the state in about a month.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.
    
The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act Wednesday that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

Gay rights supporters erupt in cheers over ruling

WASHINGTON (AP) - Chanting "DOMA is Dead," supporters of same-sex marriage burst into cheers Wednesday at news of the Supreme Court's decision invalidating part of a law denying gay marriage partners the same federal benefits heterosexual couples enjoy.
    
Sarah Prager, 26, cried when she heard the news standing outside the court. Prager married her wife in Massachusetts in 2011 and now lives in Maryland.
    
"I'm in shock. I didn't expect DOMA to be struck down," she said through tears and shaking. Prager was referring to the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, which was aimed at preserving the legal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.
    
A large crowd had thronged to the high court's plaza earlier to await not only the decision on DOMA, but also a ruling on whether a constitutional amendment in California prohibiting gay marriage could stand the test of challenge.
    
Most of the crowd that spilled across the sidewalk in front of the court were gay marriage supporters. One person held a rainbow flag and another wore a rainbow shawl, and a number of people carried signs with messages including "2 moms make a right" and "'I Do' Support Marriage Equality." Others wore T-shirts including "Legalize gay" and "It's time for marriage equality." At several points the crowd began a call and response: "What do we want? Equality. When do we want it? Now."
    
Larry Cirignano, 57, was in the minority with a sign supporting marriage only between a man and a woman. He said he drove four hours from Far Hills, N.J., because he believed all views should be represented. He said he hopes the court follows the lead of 38 states that have defined marriage as between one man and one woman
    
George Washington University student Philip Anderson, 20, came to the court with a closet door that towered above his head. He had painted it with a message opposing the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman and which the court is considering. His door read: "This used to oppress me. Repeal DOMA; Now. No more shut doors."
    
Thirty-four-year-old Ian Holloway of Los Angeles got to the court around 7 a.m. to try to get a seat inside the courtroom. Holloway said he and his partner had planned to get married in March but when the justices decided to hear the case involving California's ban on gay marriage they pushed back their date.
    
He said, "We have rings ready. We're ready to go as soon as the decision comes down." Holloway said he was optimistic the justices would strike down Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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