Local equal rights groups are praising the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions on same-sex marriage, including striking down The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and throwing out Prop 8.

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act prohibited the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples, even in the 13 jurisdictions where they are legal. Now, both gay and straight couples who are legally married will be treated the same way by our federal government.

People Acting for Change and Equality (PACE) said it was disappointed that the Supreme Court decided not to rule on Proposition 8, instead deciding that the case was not properly brought to the court, because the petitioners didn't have standing to appeal the case that held Prop 8 unconstitutional. PACE did, however, congratulate gay couples in California who will be allowed to marry once again.

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PACE's Adrienne Critcher told KEEL News these decisions come on another significant day in Supreme Court history. Ten years ago, justices struck down states' sodomy laws.

"There were some states that had bans on that just for gay people, and some had them for both gay and straight people," Critcher said. "They decided that that was not the court's position."

Critcher added that the rulings are a step in the right direction.

"From 2003, when gay people were considered criminals in some states, to now, they can get married...I think that's a great sign of progress," she said. "We have a very conservative Supreme Court now. You know, they just struck down a big part of the Voting Rights Act. That's a huge, big deal. That was a big case."

In a statement, PACE stated:

Justice has been delayed for most gay couples throughout this great country, but we are confident that it will not be permanently denied. We believe eventually that the courts - just like a majority of Americans have already decided - will find that gay people, just like their straight counterparts, are entitled to the basic human and constitutional right to marry the person they love.

Frances Kelley with GetEqual Louisiana told us she's hoping that eventually Louisiana will have marriage equality as well.

"The good news is that things are changing in Louisiana," Kelley said. "The most recent poll showed that support for [gay] marriage or civil unions is now over 50 percent in Louisiana, so we're moving in the right direction."

But she said that besides marriage, there are other issues homosexuals face, adding that her group is working with the state legislature to address issues including bullying and discrimination. She said there's still a lot of work to do for even very basic protections for LGBT people in the Bayou State.

PACE has invited all marriage equality supporters to unite and celebrate this evening at 8 p.m. at Marliynn's Place on Fern Avenue in Shreveport.