Two gay couples and a lesbian widow on Wednesday triumphed at the Supreme Court, winning a pair of cases related to gay marriage.

Edith Windsor sued the federal government after she received an estate bill of more than $360,000 resulting from the death of her wife Thea Spyer.

The New York couple shared their lives for 44 years and married in Toronto, Canada in 2007. In 2009, New York began recognizing the marriages of gay couples, although the state did not legalize such unions until 2011. Spyer died in 2009.

Signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevents federal agencies, such as the IRS, from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court said that “DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.”

“DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by the State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty,” Justice Anthony Kennedy said in writing for the majority.

Justice Samuel Alito disagreed, writing separately: “Same-sex presents a highly emotional and important question of public policy – but not a difficult question of constitutional law. The Constitutional does not guarantee the right to enter into a same-sex marriage. Indeed, no provision of the Constitution speaks to the issue.”

The ruling only applies to Section 3 of the act, leaving intact the part of the law which says that states are free to ignore the marriages of gay couples. Legislation has been introduced to repeal the entire law but passage in the Republican-controlled House seems unlikely.

The second case involves two California gay couples – Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo and Kris Perry and Sandy Stier – who despite a 2008 California Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay nuptials are unable to marry because of Proposition 8, the state's marriage ban.

Voters approved Prop 8 within months after the court ruled.

In 2009, the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) formed specifically to file the case challenging the constitutionality of Prop 8. A district court judge declared the statute invalid in 2010, and an appeals court upheld the ruling.

After state officials refused to defend the law in court, Protect Marriage, the coalition of groups formed to approve Prop 8, stepped in.

In a 5-4 decision, the court decided that Protect Marriage did not have legal standing to defend the law, thereby upholding the lower court's decision invalidating Prop 8.

“No matter how deeply committed petitioners may be to upholding Proposition 8, that is not a particularized interest sufficient to create a case or controversy under Article III,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in writing for the majority.

A rally in West Hollywood to celebrate starts at 5:30PM.