An appeals court in New York ruled on Thursday that a law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman is unconstitutional. It was the second federal appeals court to reject the law, which could go before the Supreme Court soon.
The ruling by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals was in favor of Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old woman who argued that the Defense of Marriage Act discriminates against gay and lesbian couples, violating equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
The Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996. Since then, six states have legalized same-sex marriage but, because of the 1996 law, the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriages performed in those states.
Supporters of same-sex marriage welcomed Thursday’s ruling.