A federal appeals court in New York declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional to same-sex couples and that gay Americans deserve the same kinds of constitutional protection as other victims of discrimination. New York is second in America to tackle the issue.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals made the decision, 2-1, that the federal law violates the Constitution's equal protection clause and that the government cannot deny equal federal benefits to legally married gay couples. The New York court is the first to decide that official discrimination against gays is the same as discrimination against women or racial minorities.
The decision comes as a ruling in favor of widow Edith Windsor, 83, who sued the federal government for charging her over $363,000 in estate taxes for a property she inherited from her wife after being denied the benefit of spousal deduction.
The ruling is an amazing victory for gay rights.
"What I'm feeling is elated," said Windsor. "Did I ever think it could come to be, altogether? ... Not a chance in hell."
Check out the actual court document here:
The Defense of Marriage Act was meant to protect states from being forced to honor same-sex marriage from other states.