In a 5-4 decision Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the 17-year-old Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is unconstitutional.
DOMA denied same-sex couples that are legally married access to federal benefits such as social security, inheritance and child custody rights and joint tax returns.
As Iowa is one of the 13 states that currently allows same-sex unions, couples married in Iowa will now receive both federal and state recognition of their marriage and have full access to federal benefits, including the ones previously listed.
"I think the court used pretty much the same logic as the Iowa Supreme Court did - it was to not allow same sex marriage partners all the rights of marriage was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution," said Steve Siegel, of the Wapello County Democrats. "I think the public opinion over the last several years has been swinging steadily that way, among young people, it's 70% plus approval of same-sex marriage. So it appears to me this is a train that isn't going to stop any time soon."
After years of no action, there has been a lot of changes taking place at the state level as of late. Minnesota, Delaware and Rhode Island all adopted laws recognizing same-sex marriages just this year.
For those who disagree with the Supreme Court's decision, the ruling is somewhat confusing, as the benefits will only be recognized in those states where same-sex marriage is recognized.
"Then the other states, if they move to that state, they will probably have federal benefits, but they don't have to go by state benefits," said Trudy Caviness, of the Wapello County Republicans. "It seems like they're really crossing on the state's rights versus the federal rights."
Caviness said she believes the ruling won't affect Iowa as a whole in a positive or negative way, since it only affects such a specific part of the state's population.