Will It Be Judges or Legislators Who Decide to Bring Gay Marriage to Pennsylvania?
At Slate today, Widener University law professor John Culhane points to a Pennsylvania lawsuit that could provide a final end-around on gay marriage—not just here, but nationwide.
The suit is Palladino v. Corbett, and it challenges the state’s refusal to recognize a gay marriage that was performed in Massachusetts. If the plaintiffs win in federal court, Culhane writes, a bunch of dominoes will fall: “If Palladino and Barker win, and Pennsylvania has to recognize their marriage, the state still won’t have to authorize its own same-sex weddings. But that will soon become a distinction without a difference. Pennsylvania couples can plan their destination weddings in all of New England, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and D.C.—and head home knowing that their marriages are also legal and binding in the state of Pennsylvania. And once this strategy catches on around the country, we’ll have gay couples living with the same rights and protections as straight couples everywhere—even if some states continue to pretend otherwise.”
But the state’s gay and lesbian residents might not have to wait that long. The Inquirer reports today that State Reps. Brian Sims and Steve McCarter will announce announce their proposed Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Act on Thursday morning at LOVE Park. “The question is, ‘When?’ ” Sims said. “I don’t believe marriage equality is completely off the table, even given this governor and this legislature. One of the things we see from Republicans is, they are professionals at catching the political winds.”
So who can win the race to bring gay marriage to Pennsylvania? Judges or legislators?