Advocates Hope New Gay Marriage Court Rulings a Preview for Pennsylvania

Utah and Oklahoma courts have legalized gay marriage. Is the Keystone State next?

AP reports that recent federal court rulings legalizing gay marriage in Oklahoma and Utah have given hope to Pennsylvania gay marriage advocates. They are still, however, preparing carefully for trial on the matter, to challenge Pennsylvania’s halt to marriage licenses granted in Montgomery County last year.

Lawyer Witold J. Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union said the case’s legal team is planning on going to trial and has no plans to seek an emergency ruling to strike down Pennsylvania’s law, citing the Oklahoma and Utah decisions.

“This is a tremendously important issue and we want to do it right,” Walczak said. “Building a record at trial will help the judge appreciate the nature and full scope of the discrimination, and will be vital for the expected appeal.”

When federal appeals courts consider weighty matters, especially on constitutional law, they generally prefer to have a full record, Walczak said.

In the meantime, PhillyNow reports a Philadelphia couple involved in another suit, asking a federal court to order Pennsylvania to recognize their marriage, which occurred legally in Massachusetts in 2005.  “On Monday, the couple filed a motion for summary judgment in federal court in Philadelphia, asking the court to strike down the Pennsylvania statute that says out-of-state marriages are not recognized. The basis for the suit is the 14th Amendment, which promises both due process and equal protection in the United States.”