NBC News
June 27, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act – the law that denies more than 1,000 federal benefits to same-sex married couples – may dramatically transform the legal status and financial standing of hundreds of thousands of gay Americans, according to political advocates and policy analysts. The top court Wednesday overturned in a 5-4 decision the third section of the 1996 law — known by the acronym DOMA — that strictly defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman and blocked same-sex couples from access to an estimated 1,138 federal privileges and programs that use marital status as a criterion for eligibility.