BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Hundreds of supporters for same-sex marriage celebrated when the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act - known as DOMA.
The 5 to 4 ruling means the federal government must now give the same benefits to same-sex couples. Eighty-four-year-old Edie Windsor challenged DOMA to fight a huge tax bill after her wife died.
"Children born today will grow up in a world without DOMA. And those same children who happen to be gay will be free to love and get married as Thea and I did with the same federal benefits protection and dignity as everyone else," Windsor said.
In a second ruling, the high court declined to rule on California's Proposition 8, opening the door to same sex marriage in that state.
And though many applauded Wednesday's historic decisions on gay marriage, not everyone is happy about the rulings.
Ken Klukowski of the Family Research Council said, "Despite the fact that 85-percent of Congress, a majority of both Republicans and Democrats, and a Democratic president enacted DOMA, that we can't leave it to the Democratic process for new Congress and president to decide whether to appeal it."
The court's decision only applies to same-sex marriage in the 12 states in which it is legal. But many believe equal protection under the Constitution will give equal rights to all people regardless of race or sexual orientation.
Bryan Ball of the Stonewall Democrats said, "Countless LBGT families will finally at long last have equal access to full and complete marriage rights and protection under existing civil law as any other couple or person would be afforded."
The Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus celebrated the controversial decision in song at the Buffalo Historical Society. And at the El Museo Art Gallery on Allen Street, revelers celebrated the death of DOMA.
Gallery director Craig Centrie said, "I think people have to get used to it on some level and I think, just like race relations, this is nothing that's going to go away despite the fact the legal barriers have been reduced."
Same-sex marriage activist Kitty Rudd Lambert added, "Not everybody is rejoicing over today's high court decision, especially those who believe that marriage as defined in the Bible is between a man and a woman."
Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone issued a terse statement regarding the ruling.
He said, "This is truly a tragic day for marriage and our nation." The court's decision "goes against everything human reason teaches us about marriage."
The bishop says Catholics "must pledge to work for the restoration of the true meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, as God has created it to be."
But the gay and lesbian community says it's not about religion. It's about equal rights.
"After 16 generations in this country, I have the same rights as my brothers and sisters, I have equal access to equal protection under the law," Rudd Lambert said.
The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office says a tractor trailer crashed on Route 39, in the Town of Eagle.
One letter was about the violent altercation between Jim Ying and another employee, and in the other letter Ying described why the restaurant is closing.
A Good Samaritan died Wednesday while trying to assist the driver of a tractor trailer who got stuck in the snow.
Lake Effect Snow Warnings today with the chance for an additional foot for some areas.
Judge Thomas Franczyk sentenced 34-year-old Alexander Wright to spend weekends in jail for the next three months after Wright pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon.
Police in Lockport say they have taken action after a threat was posted on a social media site from a student threatening to bring a gun to North Park School.