Big day for gay rights

Though they stopped short of declaring there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, Wednesday’s decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 will stand together as a milestone in gay rights. Opponents can be expected to push harder for a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and the rulings won’t affect the state laws and amendments barring it, such as in Kansas. But they mean that same-sex married couples are entitled to federal tax and other benefits, and presumably that gay marriages will resume in populous California as they continue in 12 other states and the District of Columbia. The 5-4 decisions found the court about as split as the American public, 51 percent of which supports same-sex marriage. But they also signal that legal recognition of same-sex marriage is inevitable – just as 72 percent of Americans believe it to be.