gay marriage supporter outside U.S. Supreme Court
Gay marriage supporter Vin Testa waves a rainbow flag in anticipation of U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the cases against California's gay marriage ban known as Prop 8 and the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, outside the court building in Washington on Monday. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst )

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a federal law that restricts the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples in a major victory for the gay rights movement.

The ruling, on a 5-4 vote, means that legally married gay men and women are entitled to claim the same federal benefits that are available to opposite-sex married couples.

The court was due to decide within minutes a second case concerning a California law that bans same-sex marriage in the state.


Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Howard Goller and Will Dunham

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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