Washington — Reflecting the nation's deep cultural divide over same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court on Wednesday delivered mixed rulings that will extend many federal benefits to gay and lesbian couples married in states where it's legal but leave the broader issue of same-sex marriage rights nationwide for another day.
The court said the federal Defense of Marriage Act wrongly "instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others."
But the court declined to make a sweeping statement on same-sex marriage rights nationwide by declining to rule on California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriages.
The court ruled that same-sex couples married in the 10 states where it is legal -- as well as states that legalize it in the future -- should be treated equally under federal law when it comes to things like retirement benefits and taxes. In a separate ruling, justices appeared to allow same-sex marriages to resume in California, but let stand laws in 35 other states banning such unions.