By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A distinguished panel of experts dissected last week’s significant US Supreme Court decisions on Tuesday afternoon at the National Constitution Center.

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The panel predicted far-reaching effects from the court’s action.

The high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act 44 years after the earliest gay rights efforts — but just ten years after it ruled that states could not criminalize gay sex.

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Brandeis University president Fred Lawrence called this an acceleration in the acceptance of gay rights and predicted an ever-quickening pace for fully equal status for same-sex couples.

“It’s now fully one-third of the people in the United States of America who live in jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage,” Lawrence noted, “so I think the momentum is very clear.”

He and his fellow panelists — UC Irvine law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky and SCOTUSblog reporter Lyle Denniston — predicted similarly far-reaching effects from the court’s ruling striking down part of the Voting Rights Act, in the form of ever more restrictive voting laws in states with a history of voter suppression.

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