U.S. Supreme Court Decisions Ignite the Internet

06/26/2013 at 10:55 AM EDT

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions Ignite the Internet
Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 26
Pete Marovich/MCT/ZUMA
The U.S. Supreme Court will end its term Wednesday with two historic rulings concerning same-sex marriage.

In United States v. Windsor – a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which restricts federal marriage benefits to opposite-sex couples – the court ruled in a 5-4 vote that the law is unconstitutional. "The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity," Justice Anthony Kennedy writes in the majority opinion.

In Hollingsworth v. Perry, which was considering the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban (called Proposition 8), the court decided 5-4 to dismiss the appeal. California's Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment passed in 2008 provides that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

The appeal was made after courts in California ruled that the law is unconstitutional as a matter of equal rights.

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