The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the controversial federal legislation which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, went before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, and though a decision is not expected for several months, early signs indicate the law may be struck down, according to The Washington Post. If that happens, it will be a big step forward for same-sex military couples, who are currently denied many benefits because of DOMA.

The law was brought before the Supreme Court by lawyers for 83-year-old Edith Windsor. She challenged the 1996 law after she was told she owed $360,000 to the IRS after the death of her wife. The two had been married in New York – which recognized same-sex marriage – but because it wasn't recognized at the federal level she was on the hook for taxes. The issue is similar to what is faced by gay and lesbian couples in the military, because they are often barred from receiving benefits even if they are legally married.

Reporters inside the court hint that the Supreme Court could rule in favor of Windsor and the millions like her. The most encouraging sign came from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, often a deciding vote, who said he questioned the law's uniformity.

"I think it went beautifully," Windsor told reporters. "I thought the justices were gentle…. I didn't feel any hostility or any sense of inferiority. I felt we were very respected, and I think it's going to be good."

Wednesday marked the second day in a row the Supreme Court heard cases regarding the rights of same-sex couples. On Tuesday, they took up the issue of California's controversial Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage. Experts were less clear on what the outcome of that case could be due to the fact it deals with a state law rather than a federal one.

Repealing DOMA is one of the final hurdles for same-sex military couples. In September 2011, the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was officially repealed, which allowed gay and lesbian troops to openly serve for the first time. The victory would come soon after outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that benefits such as hospital visitation rights and admittance to family groups would be extended to gay couples, The Boston Globe reports.