Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania’s Gay Marriage Ban

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!