BOSTON — Reaction to Thursday's unanimous federal appeals court ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married gay couples:

"It's especially nice that it's unanimous. I understand that change, and even change for what is right takes time, and so it may not always be unanimous, but we're moving in the right direction." — Dorene Bowe-Schulman, an Acton, Mass., resident and a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits that prompted the ruling

"This ruling vindicates the decision by the Obama administration not to defend the "Defense of Marriage Act," which denies rights to millions of Americans ... I am confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will add its support for this decision which is so firmly grounded in long-standing American constitutional principles." — U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.

"Liberal federal judges in Massachusetts and California have resorted to making up legal standards in order to justify redefining marriage. They realize the legal precedent doesn't allow them to redefine marriage, so they are making up new standards to justify imposing their values on the rest of the nation. It is clear that the U.S. Supreme Court is going to have to resolve this issue once and for all." — Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage

"I'm absolutely ready to go down that road, and so proud of this country and its freedom and its rights and I hope we continue to move in the right direction." — Kathy Bush of Framingham, Mass., another plaintiff in the case, on the likelihood that it will go to the U.S. Supreme Court

"Society should protect and strengthen marriage, not undermine it. The federal Defense of Marriage Act provides that type of protection, and we trust the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse the 1st Circuit's erroneous decision." — Dale Schowengerdt, legal counsel for Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based group that presses faith-based cases in courts nationwide

"This is simply another round in the legal wranglings over the definition of marriage in this country, and marriage supporters can take heart that the battle goes forward. We are optimistic that the Supreme Court will reject the First Circuit's adventure in legal gymnastics and uphold the interest of citizens and taxpayers in the vast majority of the United States who neither support the redefinition of marriage nor look forward to subsidizing same-sex unions with taxpayer dollars." — Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for CitizenLink, the policy arm of Focus on the Family.