Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania’s Gay Marriage Ban

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It’s official, Pennsylvania has finally jumped on the right side of history. U.S. District Judge John Jones III has ruled that Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.


The ruling is on Whitewood v. Wolf, a case filed by the ACLU of Pennsylvania last summer on behalf of two dozen Pennsylvania residents who were fighting for their right to wed, or have their out-of-state marriages recognized in the Commonwealth. The lawsuit "alleges that Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act and refusal to marry lesbian and gay couples or recognize their out-of-state marriages violates the fundamental right to marry as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

In his opinion, which you can read in its entirely below, Judge Jones writes, “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”

So what happens next? I talked to ACLU Staff Attorney Molly Tack-Hooper, who tells me that Judge Jones' decision to bypass a stay means that same-sex couples in the state of Pennsylvania can apply for same-sex marriage licenses immediately. The Commonwealth could still request a stay, but up until this point it hasn't made any indication that it will do so.

This decision makes us the tenth state in the nation to strike down bans on gay marriage, finally getting us on board with all our neighbors on the East Coast. So get out there and get married gay PA. This is a historic day!

Opinion

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  • Jessie A

    It’s about damn time (is all I can say)

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  • Dave

    Well, this is a blow to the sanctity of marriage, because as everyone knows, 100 percent of heterosexual marriages are happy and never end in divorce. /s/

    • geoffrobinson

      So because heterosexual couples are broken that means anything goes?

      • Dave

        The “sanctity of marriage” sob story goes, that’s for sure.

  • Sam Gompers

    I like how he recognized all couples, not just the normal and the gay ones. We can finally have real marriage equality with consanguineous marriages.

    • dissentist

      Technically whether you’re a christian, jew, muslim, or atheist pretty much every major group believes that we’re all descended from a common ancestor, be it Adam and Eve or some monkeys, so we’ve actually had consanguineous marriage for millennia. The judge just decided we should no longer discriminate against one group of consenting adults, probably because it’s against the constitution.

      The only real surprise with any of this gay marriage business is how it exposed all the right winger gun nuts that have screamed for decades about how we need to “respect the second amendment!!!” as liars and bigots. If the NRA and gun rights supporters really believed in the constitution they would be out there with the gay folks trying to get people to follow the 14th amendment as closely as they want us to follow the 2nd.

      So next time you talk to a “strict constitutionalist” about gun control make sure you remind them that also means supporting gay marriage.

      • pjcostello

        Weak. Lame. About what I’ve come to expect from leftists.

        Every gay man has always had the right to marry. He just had to marry a woman. Since every gay man always had the same right to marry a woman as a straight man did, there’s no ‘equal protection’ issue at all. None.
        Next up: Two consenting adults decide to consecrate their relationship. Oh wait, they’re father and son! LOL.

        • dissentist

          Ahh yes, the “everything is black and white” world of the republican voter. So if you’ve got it all figured out, who does a hermaphrodite get to marry? Do we just arbitrarily look at them and say “well you look a bit more like a man today so you can only marry a woman.” ?

          By the way, you’re confusing a logical argument with logical fallacies, you should google “slippery slope”. Beyond that, do you have a legitimate argument as to why a man can’t marry his son? Obviously they aren’t going to procreate together so no genetic issues, and it’s not like the world population is in danger if we allow that, I mean we’re over 6 billion. So what’s your justification? You don’t like it so it shouldn’t be allowed? It’s against the wishes of your preferred bronze age sky fairy? It’s discrimination and it’s against our constitutions 14th amendment.

          By the way, you should try not to start your arguments with insults, it destroys any credibility you may have been trying to build with your fallacious argument.

        • Dave

          About what I’ve come to expect from leftists.

          The judge ruling in this case a Bush appointee judge, who was also supported by Santorum, and he cited Scalia’s dissent in his opinion. You can’t get much more conservative than that. And yet he still realized — and ruled — that gay people have the right to marry, too.

        • RetireCorbett2014

          So glad you don’t ever bother voting.

    • geoffrobinson

      What about marriage equality for polyamorous or polygamist relationships? Why do they get left behind?

      • dissentist

        Hopefully they won’t for long. It’s like the second amendment is etched in stone yet every other amendment is in pencil on the back of a napkin or something, the lack of respect for our constitution shown by gay rights opponents is shocking and sad.

        • geoffrobinson

          How about consensual incest relationships?

          • dissentist

            How about you google “slippery slope fallacy”, because we’re talking about gay marriage right now.

            Leaving that point aside I imagine if both people are of the age of consent then yes, incestual relationships should be fine. What’s the issue with them? That they can produce offspring with defects? If we’re going to make that claim then we better start making everything else illegal that can produce defective offspring, better make it a crime for a pregnant woman to smoke or drink, and where is the line drawn? We know for a fact automobile exhaust causes cancer and birth defects, do we make it illegal for pregnant women to go within 50 feet of a road or garage?

            What exactly is your point again?

  • Terra

    It makes me proud when my country realizes that we don’t have the right to control a personal choice as to who marries who, because it is non of our business. I hope sticks and all those wonderful people in PA get to have those marriages to the people they love.

    • Sam Gompers

      The states and federal government has no business providing benefits to people who choose to love each other, nor punishing other people by withholding those benefits because they aren’t in love.

      Since marriage is about the private feelings between all couples, there is no compelling interest for the State to be involved in marriage at all.

      We should eradicate civil marriage altogether. There is no societal or governmental purpose for being involved in the private business of individuals.

      • korine

        This thought occurred to me today, at the same time that I was celebrating the decision. The oddity of civil marriage suddenly struck me.

      • geoffrobinson

        Well, except for paternity issues and care of children, etc. But this severs the link between biology and marriage.

        • Sam Gompers

          What will be the influence of communist society on the family?

          It will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage – the dependence rooted in private property, of the women on the man, and of the children on the parents.

          – Karl Marx

          It looks like we’re halfway there. Next up, they’ll go after property rights.

  • Donald Sterling

    Good times in the Commonwealth
    Loved the judge’s comment about the “ash heap of history”
    Perhaps we can also discard Joel Mathis and Victor Fiorillo there too.

  • Jacob Lucas Ashby

    Digusting

    • Robert_Loblaw

      Don’t tread on them, man.

  • john

    looks like the divorce rate is going to go up