Pa. Gay Couples “Rush” For Marriage Licenses
A roundup of what the national press is saying about Tuesday’s ruling striking down Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage:
Same-sex couples in Pennsylvania began receiving marriage licenses soon after Jones’s decision came down. Among the first was Kerry Smith and her partner Rue Landau, the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.
“We were the first couple to get the marriage license in Philadelphia,” Landau said before heading to a celebratory rally. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told the couple he would officiate their wedding, which could take place as soon as next week, Landau said. “This is all happening so fast,” she added.
In honor of the decision, Mayor Nutter raised the rainbow-colored flag that has come to symbolize the gay rights movement. The city also announced extended hours for the office that distributes marriage licenses. “It is a totally joyous day for Pennsylvania’s lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender communities, advocates and allies,” Nutter said in a statement.
As supporters of gay rights celebrated, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia called it “a mistake with long-term, negative consequences” and urged a quick appeal. Judge Jones, who is based in Harrisburg, Pa., was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002.
In the last few months, judges have struck down marriage limits in several states: Arkansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and, on Monday,Oregon. Courts elsewhere have said that states must recognize same-sex marriages performed outside their borders.
Gov. Tom Corbett tweeted early Tuesday evening that he “is in the process of thoroughly reviewing the decision of the court,” adding that a statement is anticipated Wednesday.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane earlier made her own definitive statement, saying she will “not … defend Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act because I made a legal determination as to the unconstitutionality of this law.”
“Today brings justice to Pennsylvanians who have suffered from unequal protection under the law because of their sexual orientation,” Kane said.
Who saw this coming? I’m going to guess “not Rick Santorum.” Twelve years ago, in his second and final term as the U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, Santorum urged the Senate to confirm Jones and Kit Connor.
“Attorneys Jones and Conner are highly qualified to assume the important role of Judge and the duty of protecting the Constitution and ensuring the effective operation of our judicial system. “Since the onset of the war against terrorism, our federal judiciary has taken on an even higher level of importance, and it is imperative that we provide our courts with the resources necessary to enforce the rule of law. These judgeships are vital to our national security goals, and I urge my colleagues to work with the President to fill these vacancies in a timely manner.”