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Gay rights campaigners in America are celebrating a double landmark victory after the Supreme Court ruled that same sex married couples should be granted the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples.
A second ruling also paved the way for gay marriage to be allowed again in the state of California, as the court upheld a previous ruling that deemed a provision against gay marriage "unconstitutional."
Google has created a rainbow border for its search box for users who type the word 'gay' or 'lesbian' into their search engine.
A crowd of thousands gathered in Washington to celebrate the Supreme Court striking down a part of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples.
The court's 5-4 vote said the Defence of Marriage Act, known as Doma, denied equal protection to same-sex couples.
The ruling means that previous anti-gay marriage laws denying legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits has been swept away.
The court also upheld a trial court declaration that ruled that California's Proposition 8 was unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex marriages to continue in the state.
Proposition 8 was approved in 2008 with 52% of the vote and put same-sex marriages on hold.
The verdict read:
"Under Doma, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways.
"Doma's principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal."
President Obama has welcomed a US Supreme Court decision to make married gay men and women eligible for federal benefits, whilst stressing the ruling does not change the way religious institutions define marriage. In a written statement, he said:
The US president said the ruling applies only to civil marriages and that how religious institutions define and consecrate marriages has always been up to those institutions.
The US Supreme Court has extended Federal benefits to married gay couples.
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