NEW ORLEANS -- The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage act ripples across all 50 states, especially in terms of public opinion.
Legally, Louisiana still has a Constitutional amendment banning any sort of legal union between same-sex couples. Even so, the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered community celebrated with the rest of the nation Wednesday.
“I haven't felt this happy in a long, long time,” said John Hill, chairman of the Forum for Equality in Louisiana.
Louisiana's GLBT community paraded through the French Quarter as part of their annual Pride celebration, but by Wednesday, they had even more to celebrate. The Supreme Court’s decision would provide more than a thousand federal benefits to same-sex couples, according to the Forum for Equality.
“Joint income tax returns, Social Security benefits, spousal benefits for soldiers in the war,” Hill said.
The court didn't rule on the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, and that means states with amendments, like Louisiana, will still have gay marriage bans in place.
“We're seeing a tidal wave, a shift in public opinion and the conversation that we have with state legislators and that we have with families,” said SarahJane Brady, executive director of the Forum for Equality.
New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond said the decision disappoints him.
“In these cases, I’m not sure right now what's a win and what's a loss. I think that we're in a very important, and rather critical time in the life of our country and in upholding the dignity of marriage,” Aymond said.
According to Aymond, it's not just an issue of law but one of morality.
“The striking down of DOMA, the whole issues of sexuality that are going on today, I think it leaves our young people confused,” he said.
Meanwhile, supporters of the court's decision said Wednesday that it's not about religion or morality, but equality under the law.
“We are real people. We are normal people. We are doctors, lawyers, teachers, we are all throughout society and all we want is to be treated equally and fairly,” Hill said.
One of the most significant questions still unanswered about Wednesday's decision is what will it mean for federal benefits for couples married in other states who live in states like Louisiana that outlaw it.