The U.S. Supreme Court has extended federal benefits to same-sex couples by striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

DOMA  defined marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman.

Today's 5-4 ruling found the law to be discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional.

The majority opinion called the 1996 law a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons which is protected by the Fifth Amendment.

The ruling means legally married same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal benefits which are available to men and women who are married.