WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.
Now, supporters of gay marriage across the country, including here in the Capital Region of New York, are celebrating the Supreme Court's decision Wednesday to strike down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and clear the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.
The Empire State Pride Agenda is one of many advocacy groups welcoming the Supreme Court's ruling, saying it will have some very real implications for them and their lives.
Excitement laid specifically around the Court's decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prevents same sex couples whose marriages are recognized by their home state from receiving hundreds of benefits available to other married couples under federal law.
Libby Post, founder of the Empire State Pride Agenda, says this will save her and her partner a lot of money.
Governor Andrew Cuomo released the following statement on the ruling:
"Today's decisions by the Court are groundbreaking civil rights victories for the LGBT community and a major step forward in our efforts to achieve full marriage equality in this nation.
Two years ago, New York became the largest state to enact marriage equality, and since then we have seen a growing recognition across the country that all citizens deserve equal rights under the law, regardless of sexual orientation.
From the Stonewall Riots 44 years ago this week, to the passage of marriage equality in New York, to today's decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act that originated from a case brought by a New York resident, this state has been at the forefront of this movement.
It is my hope that today's breakthrough decisions will propel our nation forward and finally allow all Americans to be granted the same rights and protections under the law."
Gwen Wright and Geri Pomerantz, a same sex couple who have been together for 25 years, say they’ve pursued careers, built a home, raised a family, but that commitment, their love for one another has never been recognized by the federal government until today.
Wright and Pomerantz plan to get married in two weeks, telling the NEWS CENTER they chose to wait until the Supreme Court ruled on DOMA and Prop 8.
On the other side of the debate, opponents argue the Supreme Court’s rulings hurt traditional marriage.
Stephen Hayford is the Communications Director for the New Yorkers Family Research Foundation. While he tells NEWS CENTER he wasn't totally surprised by the decisions, they leave him concerned.
Later on Wednesday night at the Pride Center in Albany, people were overjoyed at the Supreme Court’s decision, nearly 50 people gathering to celebrate.
“I started crying, I did not let go of his hand the whole bus ride,” said Kevin Moshier.
Moshier and his partner of two years recently got engaged and plan to marry next year. They say now their marriage means even more in the state of New York.
“A lot of times, it made me feel if everyone else viewed what we had as a joke,” said Moshier. “This confirms our community and relationship is deserving of rights and responsibilities that are afforded to the rest of citizens.”
But for Kevin and Jonathon, who eventually want to move out of state and down south, there still remains another hurdle.
“The right I’m afforded in this state wouldn’t carry over,” he said.