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Celebrations following Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage

STORY: Celebrations after the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday handed a significant victory to gay rights advocates by ruling that married gay men and women are eligible for federal benefits and paving the way for same-sex marriage in California. The two cases, both decided on 5-4 votes, concerned the constitutionality of a key part of a federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), that denied benefits to same-sex married couples and a California state law enacted in 2008, called Proposition 8, that banned gay marriage. The court struck down a central part of DOMA and let stand a lower-court ruling throwing out California's voter-approved ban on gay marriage. The Supreme Court rulings come amid rapid progress for advocates of gay marriage in recent months and years in the United States and internationally. Opinion polls show a steady increase in U.S. public support for gay marriage. Gay marriage is an issue that stirs cultural, religious and political passi

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