8 moments of sheer joy after gay marriage rulings

After the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday to strike down the 1996 law blocking federal recognition of gay marriage, a wave of joy and emotion washed over same-sex couples and supporters across the nation.

When it was announced that the court had invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act that had denied federal benefits to gay couples in states allowing gay marriage, same-sex marriage supporters celebrated with hugs, kisses and tears. The court also said it could not rule on a challenge to California's Proposition 8, which had banned gay marriage in the state since 2008, which means that same-sex marriage can now resume in California.

The historic day was marked by emotional scenes everywhere, from right outside the Supreme Court to a large gathering of supporters in San Francisco, from watch parties across the country to heartfelt moments between same-sex couples in their homes as they heard the news.

Here is a look at some of the reactions from same-sex couples and gay rights supporters from around the nation.

Jim Lo Scalzo / Today
Outside the Supreme Court in Washington, unrestrained exultation by gay rights supporters greeted the two landmark decisions.
Jim Lo Scalzo / Today
Like many same-sex couples when they heard the news, Michael Knaapen (L) and John Becker (R), a gay couple from Washington, DC, who married seven years ago in Toronto, shared a kiss.
Justin Sullivan / Today
A couple at a rally in San Francisco celebrates the Supreme Court decisions, including one that will allow gay marriage to resume in California after it was banned in 2008.
Andrew Gombert / Today
Patrons of New York City's Stonewall Inn celebrated the news. The establishment is legendary in the gay rights movement for riots that took place in 1969 when the gay community demonstrated against a police raid.
Mark Humphrey / Today
Julia Tate (left) kisses her wife, Lisa McMillin, while holding their son, Luke, as they read results of the Supreme Court decisions in an intimate moment at their home in Nashville, Tenn. One of the decisions ensures that married same-sex couples cannot be denied federal benefits such as Social Security and family leave.
Wilfredo Lee / Today
In addition to smiles and hugs among gay couples, there were also some tears like those from Jeff Ronci (left), who got a kiss from partner Juan Talavera at a party in Miami to watch the Supreme Court rulings.
Justin Sullivan / Today
Many older members of the gay community who have experienced the struggles for equal rights over the years also rejoiced, like this couple in San Francisco that celebrated hearing the news.
Kevork Djansezian / Today
Couples celebrated not only with one another, but also with their friends and fellow supporters. Here, Brandon Benoit hugs Martha Acevedo (L) and Briana Castaneda as they rejoice over the Supreme Court ruling at a watch party at Equality California in West Hollywood.