U.S. SUPREME COURT
- Two major Supreme Court Rulings announced Wednesday.
The Supreme Court has cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by holding that defenders of California's gay marriage ban did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings striking down the ban.
The court's 5-4 vote today leaves in place the initial trial court declaration that the ban is unconstitutional.
California officials probably will rely on that ruling to allow the resumption of same-sex unions in about a month's time.
The Supreme Court also says legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.
They struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law blocking federal recognition of same-sex marriages.
The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act today 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.
Story By: Associated Press