A Major Moment for Gay Rights

Crowds gathered at San Francisco's City Hall and outside the U.S. Supreme Court to watch and then celebrate today's landmark rulings.

Same-sex couples in the United States didn't waste any time celebrating the Supreme Court's landmark rulings in favor of gay rights.

This morning, the Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented legally married same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits available to other married couples, is unconstitutional. In a separate ruling, the Court found that the sponsors of California's Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in the state, had no standing to appeal lower-court decisions that held the law to be unconstitutional. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, that means gays and lesbians could be allowed to marry in California within weeks.

In San Francisco, a large crowd had gathered inside City Hall to watch the rulings as they unfolded on television. The Sacramento Bee reported "deafening applause and cheering" upon hearing the Supreme Court's announcement. Lieutenant Governor (and former San Francisco mayor) Gavin Newsom, who directed the city and county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004, said "this is a profound moment for every single person here. This is about real people and real lives being affirmed." Mayor Ed Lee said today, "It feels good to have love triumph over ignorance, equality triumph over discrimination."

Below, scenes from San Francisco City Hall and outside the U.S. Supreme Court as the rulings came down:

Gay rights supporters await the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions at City Hall June 26, 2013 in San Francisco, United States.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A couple celebrates upon hearing the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act at City Hall June 26, 2013 in San Francisco, United States. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
People react at the city hall in San Francisco, California, June 26, 2013, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday handed a significant victory to gay rights advocates by recognizing that married gay men and women are eligible for federal benefits and paving the way for same-sex marriage in California. (REUTERS/Jed Jacobsohn)
Therese Stewart, the lead attorney on the same-sex marriage case in the San Francisco city attorney's office, speaks in San Francisco, California at City Hall during a news conference after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, June 26, 2013.  (REUTERS/Jed Jacobsohn)
Lt. Governor of California Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act on the steps of the city hall in San Francisco, California, June 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Jed Jacobsohn)
People celebrate, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, on the steps of the city hall in San Francisco, California, June 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Jed Jacobsohn)
Sarah Beth Alcabes (L) kisses girlfriend Meghan Cleary, both of California, after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on cases against the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's gay marriage ban known as Prop 8, outside the court in Washington, June 26, 2013.  (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)


Women share hugs after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on cases against the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's gay marriage ban known as Prop 8, outside the court in Washington, June 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

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