I can now legally marry in Pennsylvania. Of course that would require having a partner but, theoretically, I now have equal marriage rights with straight Pennsylvanians thanks to Federal Judge John Jones. The state’s constitutional ban on same sex marriages was declared a violation of the U.S. constitution’s Equal Protection clause and struck down. The ACLU of PA led this fight and must be congratulated.
After the Supreme Court’s Windsor ruling I predicted it would cause a cascade of individual state rulings and that’s exactly what has been happening. No Federal judge can ignore the findings of that case and uphold these discriminatory laws. Is there any news out of Butler County yet about Rep. Daryl Metcalf’s head exploding?
Pending a stay on appeal marriages should begin immediately and all those couples in the state who have wed elsewhere now have those marriages recognized under Pennsylvania law. The case essentially wasn’t defended and Judge Jones granted a summary judgement based on the case briefs filed in his court. Also, recall that this is a Republican Federal Judge. Because there was no essential legal case made defending the old law the likelihood of a stay pending appeal is small.
It is a great day for equality in the Keystone State.
Rep. Brian Sims, the first openly gay person elected to the state legislature issued this statement:
“I join millions of Pennsylvanians today in supporting the federal court’s decision,” Sims said. “When Rep. Stephen McCarter, D-Montgomery, and I introduced the Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Act last fall, we recognized that numerous legal challenges throughout the Commonwealth had the potential to bring marriage equality much faster to the state, while our legislators sat on the sidelines. Today, a federal court in Pennsylvania has affirmed what a majority of Pennsylvanians already support: the fundamental right to marry the person they love.”
“I’m thankful for all of the hard work that has gotten us to this point. I’m proud to live in a state where I am one step closer to being an equal citizen. And I am empowered to ensure that we continue the effort to bring equality in the form of an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination law to the Commonwealth.”
Rep. Erin Molchany issued this:
“Today is a great day for equality.”
“Today’s decision to strike down Pennsylvania’s unconstitutional ban on marriage is a celebration of human dignity and another step toward greater equality for all. Our friends and neighbors should not be denied basic rights because of who they love, and this decision is a great step forward for our commonwealth.”