U.S. District Judge to Hear Gay Marriage Case in Philly Tomorrow

Tomorrow, at the U.S. Courthouse on Market Street, United States District Judge Mary McLaughlin will hear oral arguments in the case of Palladino v. Corbett. The federal suit, filed in September 2013, declares that the Pennsylvania statute banning the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.

Cara Palladino and Isabelle Barker, who were married in Massachusetts in February 2005, brought the suit after the couple relocated to Pennsylvania in August 2005. The couple welcomed their first son in January 2009. However, upon their move to Pennsylvania, Palladino and Barker’s nuptials essentially became “null and void” as the state refuses to recognize gay marriage licenses legally issued in other states.

Of note, the suit “raises important constitutional questions the courts have not addressed, including […] the Full Faith and Credit clause, which requires states to respect judgment, decrees and orders of other states, and the constitutional right to travel between states without penalty or deprivation of legal rights,” according to a press release from Equality Form, which is coordinating the suit.

“Since the inception of the nation, almost all marriages sanctioned by one state have been accepted by all other states,” says Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Equality Forum. “Failure by Pennsylvania to recognize a legal marriage denigrates Cara, Isabelle and their son and denies them important family protections and benefits.”

The suit has caught the attention of several predominant politicians, including Delaware Governor Jack A. Markell.

“When an opposite-sex couple is marred in Delaware, other states historically have recognized the validity of that marriage,” says Markell. “Why should it be any different for same-sex couples?”

We will keep you posted throughout the proceedings.