Supreme Court strikes down provision of DOMA, dismisses Prop 8 appeal

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(CNN) — The Supreme Court has made a decision in a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the law that defines marriage for federal purposes as a union between a man and woman only.

CNN Supreme Court producer Bill Mears writes that DOMA, passed in 1996, defines marriage as between one man and one woman for federal purposes, like taxes. “That means the estimated 120,000 gay and lesbian couples legally married in nine states and the District of Columbia are still considered – in the eyes of DOMA opponents – the equivalent of girlfriend and boyfriend.”

In another vote, the Supreme Court ruled there’s no standing on Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage .

Mears writes that the Supreme Court has dismissed the closely-watched appeal over same-sex marriage on jurisdictional grounds, ruling Wednesday private parties do not have “standing” to defend California’s voter-approved ballot measure barring gay and lesbians couples from state-sanctioned wedlock. The ruling permits same-sex couples in California to legally marry. The 5-4 decision avoids for now a sweeping conclusion on whether same-sex marriage is a constitutionally-protected “equal protection” right that would apply to all states. The case is Hollingsworth v. Perry (12-144).