Nightly News   |  June 26, 2013

The nation absorbs DOMA decision

Twitter lit up after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA with more than 9000 tweets a minute. Now, same-sex couples who are legally married will receive federal benefits such as social security and death benefits, and surviving spouses will no longer have to pay an estate tax. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> reaction to the two cases, the prop 8 case in california and the court striking down the defense of marriage act . reaction ranged from uplajubilation to consternation. anne thompson in new york with more.

>> reporter: the event taking place behind me, a series of rallies across the country in support of today's decision. the ruling means that legally married same-sex couples have new protections and obligations under federal law . mid morning toast at new york city 's stonewall inn , where the gay pride movement started 45 years ago. on capitol hill , reaction was as moreized as the 5-4 decision.

>> i feel jubilation, fabulous, every gay word i can think of.

>> what we now have today is a holy quintet who goes against the laws of nature and nature's god and that's very unfortunate.

>> reporter: the decision set twitter on fire, more than 9,000 tweets per minute as nation observed the news. the ruling means change. legally married same-sex couples will no longer have to pay taxes on a spouse's health coverage. they can file their federal taxes jointly and some will pay the marriage penalty . spouses can get social security retirement and death benefits, and the surviving spouse won't have to pay an estate tax and gay u.s. citizens can sponsor immigrant spouses for green cards . military couples may feel the biggest impact. tracy johnson lost her wife, donna, killed by a suicide bomber. yet, tracy wasn't the first person notified of donna's death, wasn't eligible for survivor's benefits, wasn't even entitled to the flag from donna's casket.

>> the most painful, the death certificate came back, it said single and that was probably the most brutal blow. because we weren't.

>> reporter: same-sex military spouses will get medical coverage, death benefits, and the knowledge that their country loves them as much as they love their country. anne thompson , nbc news, new york.

>> reporter: this is mike tiabbi in california . in san francisco , thousands gathered to learn the court's ruling. same-sex marriage, suspended since 2008 by prop 8, now the law again.

>> i suspect by july, marriages will be provided legally up and down the state of california .

>> reporter: in west hollywood , nervous moments at the california equality offices. and then cheers of unrestrained joy. couples like this says they can make wedding plans.

>> now we can do it, dad. let's get it going.

>> reporter: in long beach, jody lambert got home from the night shift in time to greet rose and watch the decision together.

>> i'm so happy to be on the right side of history.

>> reporter: they say marriage, the word with its full meaning is different than civil union .

>> it's amazing so many people, my family included, treat my relationship so much differently than my brother and his wife.

>> reporter: prop 8 may be dead, but proponents say they aren't done yet.

>> we have fight in the court, we will not surrender.

>> reporter: for who knows how many americans, certainly tens of thousands in california , what happened today means one thing, their lives got better. here in west hollywood , they are getting ready for a celebration that will start later tonight. california 's attorney general camela harris has asked the district court to vacate the stay immediately. but it may take a few weeks or months for it to happen.

>> mike tiabbi and anne thompson , thank you, both.