Edith Windsor, whose lawsuit against the United States government resulted in today’s historic ruling by the Supreme Court has said that she “won everything we asked and hoped for.”

Ms Windsor who was married to her partner, sued the government in order to get the federal estate tax deduction previously only available to straight people when their spouses die and who is now eligible for a $363,000 (£236,000) tax refund.

She said that she was “honored and humbled and overjoyed…to represent not only the thousands of Americans whose lives have been adversely impacted by the Defense of Marriage Act but those whose hopes and dreams have been constricted by the same discriminatory law.”

After several days of fraught speculation about when the court would rule, it made its announcement on Wednesday morning that Section 3 of DOMA, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman, was unconstitutional, paving the way for over 1,100 benefits previously not afforded to same-sex couples.

The clear-cut ruling was made on the case of United States v Windsor.

It issued an opinion on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which federally defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and therefore blocked gay married couples from receiving many benefits, on Wednesday morning.

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to deem DOMA unconstitutional, saying that it was so because it deprived people of their Fifth Amendment freedoms.

The opinion read: “DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.”

The full opinion is available to read on the SCOTUS website.

Nine US states, and Washington DC currently allow equal marriage, and it will become law in Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota in the summer.

The US state of Maryland in November 2012 became the first state to legalise equal marriage by means of a popular vote back in 2012. The law came into effect on 1 January 2013.

Washington and Maine also legalised equal marriage in referendums in those states on the same day.