Residents react to DOMA decision made by Supreme Court

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Local residents react to the Supreme Court ruling to strike down a key section of a federal law that denies federal benefits to legally married gay couples.

In a 5-4 decision, the justices declared part of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional which denies federal benefits to married to married gay and lesbian couples in 14 states.

The Supreme Court also declined to rule on Proposition 8 out of California banning same sex marriages, sending the issue back to the Ninth Circuit appellate court. The decision came with instructions for dismissal, effectively making the law invalid.

"I think as a country it's showing that we actually progressing further," said Jonesboro resident, Conner Branch. "It's another really good move in this country I believe."

But not everyone felt that way. Some say the Supreme Court's decision to strike down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act was not the right decision.

"Overall I was very saddened by it I felt like it's just another way America is shaking their fists at the Lord and saying I don't care about you or your word," said Diana Vrbicek, another local resident.

Wednesday's ruling will only affect the 14 states where same sex marriage is legal. Before, legally married couples were denied federal benefits like Social Security benefits, veteran benefits or the ability to file joint tax returns.

 "I just think it's another step further away from people caring about living the right way," she said.  

"When I heard the decisions I was actually really happy because I believe you should be happy just doing what you are doing," said Branch.

But one resident says he's glad they made the decision for the right reasons.  

 "They considered it unconstitutional because it would violate the rights of same sex couples," said Jonesboro resident, Matthew Wrights.  

There are about 130,000 married same-sex couples in the United States who up to this point were denied those federal benefits. Justice Anthony Kennedy said this law was a violation of the 5th amendment.

"I think it's great that they shot it down in that way because it shows support," Wrights said.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.