Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Same Sex Marriage Legal In Pennsylvania

Same Sex Marriage Legal In Pennsylvania

For those who follow me on this blog, I have posted numerous times about the fact that my husband and I live, work, and pay taxes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania where same sex marriage has been illegal. As a result, we were married in Vermont and have been waiting for same sex marriage to become legal so we can share the same equality as other married couples all over the United States.

Today Federal Judge John E. Jones III made history by ruling that the ban against same sex marriage in Pennsylvania is unconstitutional. He ruled in favor of 23 defendants who filed suit through ACLU and others.

This is a direct quote from Judge Jones:

“We are a better people than what these laws represent,” Jones wrote of same-sex marriage bans in his ruling, drawing comparisons between the civil rights movement and the modern gay marriage movement. ”It is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”

“By virtue of this ruling, same-sex couples who seek to marry in Pennsylvania may do so, and already married same-sex couples will be recognized as such in the Commonwealth.”

I think it's also important to note that Judge Jones was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002, and was recommended by Senator Rick Santorum. Both Bush and Santorum are Republicans.

The ruling in Pennsylvania, as with other states, came as a direct result from last June's ruling by SCOTUS that stated the Defense of Marriage Act implemented under President Bill Clinton, Democrat, violates the Constitution in several ways.

You can read more here. There's an excellent map of which states are now legal and which aren't.

Here's another piece from the NYT.

On a personal level, it's hard to even talk about how this ruling feels after waiting so long...a lifetime. It's both legally and psychologically liberating.  I just hope it's not overturned as we've seen before in other places.

As of right now there has been no statement from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's office. Historically, Corbett has been against legal same sex marriage and it will be interesting to see how he responds and how he's going to interpret a law/ban that so many other states seem to think is clearly unconstitutional.

Interestingly, this ruling by Judge Jones came on the very same day of the Democratic primary race for Governor in Pennsylvania. Not only did it trump that story, it shows that not one single politician, as we've been told, really did all that much to help legalize gay marriage. At least not in public. Not Democratic Mayor of Philadelphia Michael Nutter who refused to perform same sex marriages in Philadelphia last year because it was illegal, and who is now waving the rainbow flag tonight in Philadelphia. Thank you, Mayor Nutter. We appreciate your support after the fact.

And let's not forget about Mayor Keller right here in New Hope, PA, who refused to perform same sex marriage for the very same reason.

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