WASHINGTON - Supporters of gay marriage are celebrating two Supreme Court decisions today.
One struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples. The other cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California by leaving in place a trial court's declaration that California's voter-approved ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
The provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that was struck down today kept legally-married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits that go to married couples of the opposite sex.
Wednesday evening Colorado Springs Pride celebrated the decision at City Hall in Colorado Springs.
"We are here today to publicly proclaim victory," said Charles Irwin of Colorado Springs Pride. "We are also here today to remember the thousands of people that have fought to get us here today. And I hope we are here today to recommit ourselves to the fight for LGBT equality."
Focus on the Family has been a critic of gay marriage. A spokeswoman for the group said it's important to realize that voters passed a state amendment in 2006 that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
"The people of Colorado have said marriage is a special union and it needs to be a man and a woman and a lot of that is because kids do best on every measure when they have a married mother and father-- that needs to be our public policy," said Carrie Gordon Earll of Focus.
Gordon Earll argued that the decision doesn't liken gay marriage to a mandate or civil right.
"The definition of marriage in Colorado is in tact and that's how we feel like it's a good ruling for marriage," said Gordon Earll.
In the other ruling, the justices said nothing at all about same-sex marriage itself. But the outcome will probably allow California officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the state in about a month.