Supreme Court Strikes Down Part of Defense of Marriage Act

      Associated Press

      The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

      The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

      Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

      Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.

      RELATED: Supreme Court Avoids Ruling on Right to Gay Marriage in Prop 8 Case