Wednesday marked a historic day for same-sex couples in America and in Connecticut as the Supreme Court handed down a decision that gives same-sex couples federal benefits.
Connecticut legalized same-sex marriage in 2008, but couples couldn't access federal benefits. On Wednesday morning, justices voted 5-4 that a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, was unconstitutional.
"As a lesbian woman, who's been married for 18 years and we have a 14-year-old daughter, I'm personally delighted," said Robin McHaelen of True Colors.
The government now must give the same benefits to same-sex couples.
"It will have a huge sweeping practical ramification for citizens of Connecticut because it gives our law full force and effect," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
This ruling will affect same-sex couples' lives.
"We don't have to fill out our taxes twice now," said McHaelen. "If something happens to me, my wife can get my Social Security, so all those things are important to us."
This started when 83-year-old Edie Windsor went to the Supreme Court in March to challenge DOMA after she was forced to pay taxes on the estate of her partner of more than 40 years. Windsor will now get back more than $300,000 in taxes she already paid.
Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra said he was "extremely pleased" by the court's ruling.
"This is a tremendous step forward for marriage equality, and for equal rights as a whole," Segarra said in a statement. "As the first elected mayor of a major U.S. city in a legally recognized, same-sex marriage, this issue strikes particularly close to home."
Same-sex marriage is now allowed in 12 states and Washington, DC, and locally gay couples see this historic day as another step toward equality.
"Marriage has become the face of equality," said McHaelen. "But I think what we're creating is a world where everybody is free to be and to live the life they choose."
Segarra said the ruling will cause more states to "offer the legal protections of marriage to all citizens," similar to the ones in place in Connecticut.
"Even after today's ruling upholding the right of same-sex couples to marry in California, less than a third of the U.S. population lives in states where same-sex marriage is recognized," Segarra said.
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