Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and GLAD attorney Mary Bonauto are thrilled with President Obama's decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The Clinton-era law bans federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples and allows states to ignore such marriages.

Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday that he and the president believe parts of the law are unconstitutional.

Two of the cases the Department of Justice had been fighting were filed in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize the institution in 2005.

Coakley told the Boston Herald that the decision was an “important victory.”

GLAD attorney Mary Bonauto called the announcement “extraordinarily significant,” but added that she believes Congress will step in to defend the law.

“We are prepared to address head-on whatever arguments Congress may make,” Bonauto said.

Governor Deval Patrick also praised the decision.

“In Massachusetts, we believe that every person ought to be able to marry whomever they love, and we believe the rest of the country is moving forward in that direction, too,” he said.