Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced yesterday her office will not defend the state’s DOMA law in a legal action entered into federal court by the ACLU of PA on behalf of two dozen same sex couples. The Commonwealth passed the law limiting rights and we just saw the U.S. Supreme Court strike down the federal law as unconstitutional. If the federal law is unconstitutional because its violates couple’s rights then each state law is also unconstitutional. Unfortunately they will need to be litigated on a state by state basis. Ours is the first such challenge to be filed nationally.
I called for such action the day the SCOTUS decision was issued, challenging my peers in committed relationships to seek marriage licenses then hire civil rights counsel to challenge the law. This is what the ACLU is doing. There’s no way, following the SCOTUS decision, that a Judge can go against that momentous, landmark decision and uphold these discriminatory laws.
Meanwhile State Reps Brian Sims and Steve McCarter have co-sponsored a marriage equality bill in Harrisburg. Sims is the first openly gay person elected to that body in Pennsylvania. McCarter issued this statement yesterday following the Kane announcement:
I’m extremely proud of Attorney General Kane for doing what is best for Pennsylvanians and agreeing that we must not stand in the way of progress and true marriage equality for all,” McCarter said. “The law banning gay marriage is obsolete and frankly, a violation of the rights of thousands of LGBT citizens.
“It’s the right thing to do and is a fundamental civil rights issue,” McCarter said.
The lawsuit challenging the gay marriage ban was filed in federal court on Tuesday by two dozen Pennsylvania residents seeking to force Pennsylvania to allow them to marry or recognize their same-sex marriages performed in other states.
“Pennsylvania is the only state in the Northeast that does not allow either gay marriage or civil unions, which only acts as a detriment to our state,” McCarter said. “I’m honored to be working with Representative Brian Sims to gather support in the legislature for a bill that would legalize gay marriage and finally bring true marriage equality to all Pennsylvanians.”