House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hopes gay marriage will be legal nationwide in five years.
The Democratic leader said she is "optimistic that the momentum is with ending discrimination.” Pelosi called the speed with which public perception is changing in favor of gay marriage "encouraging."
Her comments come days after the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, giving same-sex couples federal benefits previously barred to them.
In another ruling, the court also declined to rule on California’s Proposition 8, which also banned same-sex marriage at the state level. That decision left a place a lower court’s ruling holding the law unconstitutional.
Pelosi had been a longtime critic of DOMA, blasting the House GOP for spending resources on its defense and predicting it would be struck down.
On Wednesday, she hailed the high court’s decision saying it was “no surprise” to her.
"This admission by the court that this bill was unconstitutional was a very important decision for our country, for not only what it means in the lives of people, but also it sends a message of not to be frivolous with the issue of discrimination in our country, and that's what this is about: discrimination," Pelosi said.