"Couldn't be more proud'
Same-sex marriage advocates were, in a word, elated.
"I did not count on them moving this far," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who called it the rulings "an incredible victory."
"Today's historic decisions put two giant cracks in the dark wall of discrimination that separates committed gay and lesbian couples from full equality," said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, who called the rulings "a joyous milestone."
"While we celebrate the victory for Californians today, tomorrow we turn our attention to the millions of LGBT people who don't feel the reach of these decisions," he said.
American University student Mollie Wagoner was waiting outside the Supreme Court for the decision with her girlfriend, Sharon Burk, when the word came down.
"I don't even have words. I'm just so happy, and just overwhelmed with emotion," she said. "I couldn't be more proud of my country and of the Supreme Court today. I'm so happy to be here and be a part of it."
'A devastating thing'
Of course, not everyone was pleased by the ruling. While public opinion has shifted strongly toward support of same-sex marriage in recent years, many conservatives, particularly faith-based conservatives, find the idea of same-sex marriage incomprehensible and dangerous.
The Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, found the decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, immensely troubling.
"Justice Kennedy's opinion takes us to the brink of nationwide same-sex marriage. And I believe that will be a devastating thing for this country," he said.
Yes it will, said John Eastman of the National Organization for Marriage.
"When you destroy or redefine the institution, all of society will be harmed, society that's put such stock in the institution as a counterbalance to government and the way we raise and educate our children," he said.
Others on both sides found mixed messages in the rulings.
Casey Miller said he initially cheered Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling that essentially recognizes same-sex marriages.
But, he told CNN's iReport, "As soon as I read some of the news articles describing the decision, it sucked for us and for the majority of same-sex couples living in states with state marriage bans."
Miller, 50, married John Martin in California before Proposition 8 was overturned. The couple now lives in Texas where same-sex marriage isn't recognized.
"Are we still second-class citizens?" he asked.
He called Wednesday's ruling "an expensive baby step."
On the other side, the Rev. Rob Schenck, chairman of the Evangelical Church Alliance, said he was disappointed "in the short-term results and the short-term questions that remain unsettled."
"But," he said, "the public conversation continues and that's a good thing."