Posted By: KLKN Newsroom
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A crowd thronged to the plaza of the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday to await two major gay marriage decisions.
The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.
The high court also 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 Wednesday 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.
Most of the crowd that spilled across the sidewalk in front of the court were gay marriage supporters. One person held a rainbow flag and another wore a rainbow shawl, and a number of people carried signs with messages including ``2 moms make a right'' and ```I Do' Support Marriage Equality.'' Others wore T-shirts including ``Legalize gay'' and ``It's time for marriage equality.'' At several points the crowd began a call and response: ``What do we want? Equality. When do we want it? Now.''
Larry Cirignano, 57, was in the minority with a sign supporting marriage only between a man and a woman. He said he drove four hours from Far Hills, N.J., because he believed all views should be represented. He said he hopes the court follows the lead of 38 states that have defined marriage as between one man and one woman
George Washington University student Philip Anderson, 20, came to the court with a closet door that towered above his head. He had painted it with a message opposing the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman and which the court is considering. His door read: ``This used to oppress me. Repeal DOMA; Now. No more shut doors.''
Thirty-four-year-old Ian Holloway of Los Angeles got to the court around 7 a.m. to try to get a seat inside the courtroom. Holloway said he and his partner had planned to get married in March but when the justices decided to hear the case involving California's ban on gay marriage they pushed back their date.
He said, ``We have rings ready. We're ready to go as soon as the decision comes down.'' Holloway said he was optimistic the justices would strike down Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.
Read the decision here: