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Plaintiffs in the California Proposition 8 gay marriage case Paul Katami, center, and his partner Jeff Zarrillo, greet former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank in front of the Supreme Court in Washington Wednesday. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON — In a historic victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.

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