Chris Cillizza of The Fix said both decisions will give more momentum to pro-gay marriage advocates around the country:
Had the Court upheld DOMA and/or overturned the Prop. 8 decision by the lower courts, it would have almost certainly emboldened the forces pushing for marriage to remain as between one man and one woman. That movement was vibrant in the mid 2000s — remember that in 2004 the presence of a gay marriage ban on the ballot in 11 states was widely credited with turning out GOP voters and ensuring President Bush's re-election victory — but has faded of late. (Three states legalized same sex marriage via ballot initiative in 2012.)
But, the Court didn't do that — and, in fact, in regards DOMA, they did the opposite. What that means, from a practical political perspective, is that the movement toward the legalization of gay marriage that we have seen in public opinion polls in recent years will either hold steady or perhaps even increase.
The truth is that even before the Court handed down its rulings on DOMA and Prop. 8 today, the writing was on the political wall. It's why a number of prominent Republican political operatives signed on to an amicus brief in support of gay marriage during the Prop. 8 arguments before the Supreme Court.
Today's ruling will only further that movement as states — both legislatively and through the electoral process — may, emboldened by the Court's decision, move to legalize gay marriage.
John Marshall at Talking Points Memo points out an important consequence of the DOMA decision in the context of the immigration bill under consideration in the Senate:
One threat haunting the immigration reform legislative debate was that the bipartisan coalition supporting comprehensive immigration reform would come apart over providing equal rights to same-sex married couples in the context of US immigration law. The DOMA decision largely ends that debate since the federal government is no longer able to discriminate between opposite sex and same sex couples married in US states where it is legal.
The DOMA ruling will also have an impact on health care legislation and same-sex couples' ability to access federal health benefits, writes Tara Culp-Ressler at ThinkProgress:
Essentially, when Americans get health care through their job, their employer pays part of the premium for that insurance plan. Many of those Americans may opt for a family plan that also covers their spouse. Under the current federal tax code, Americans can't be taxed on the amount of money that their employer puts toward covering the cost of their spouse's premium. But, while DOMA stood, the federal government couldn't count same-sex couples as part of that rule. LGBT couples who were legally married ended up being taxed more for their health care than straight couples who were legally married. Now that DOMA is gone, some married same-sex couples won't pay the federal government more for sharing the same health plan.
DOMA's demise may indirectly affect LGBT individuals' ability to afford health benefits, too. Once same-sex couples aren't denied the same types of other federal tax benefits and worker protections that they were under DOMA, their financial stability will probably be improved. The current discrimination against LGBT people is one of the biggest reasons that they are disproportionately likely to be low-income, unemployed, and uninsured.