HRC Blog

BREAKING: Ban on Marriage Equality Struck Down in Pennsylvania

Just now U.S. District Judge John E. Jones, III ruled that Pennsylvania’s law banning marriage equality is unconstitutional.  Pennsylvania becomes the tenth state where a federal judge has struck down a marriage ban since the U.S. Supreme Court issued their two marriage-related rulings last year. 

Judge Jones' ruling opens the door for same-sex couples to immediately begin applying for marriage licenses.  In Pennsylvania there is a three-day waiting period before marriages can be performed after a couple receives a marriage license.  Some counties can waive this wait period.  

In today’s ruling, Judge Jones wrote, “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”

In July of 2013, state attorney general Kathleen Kane announced she would not defend the state’s marriage ban.  If PA Gov. Tom Corbett decides not to appeal today’s ruling, the Keystone State would become the nineteenth state with marriage equality, plus Washington, D.C.  With Pennsylvania, nearly 44 percent of Americans would live in states where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry.

The case, Whitewood v. Wolf was filed on July 9, 2013 by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the ACLU and counsel from the law firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller on behalf of 21 Pennsylvanians seeking the right to marry or for the Commonwealth to recognize their out-of-state marriages.  The suit challenges a law passed by the state legislature in 1996 that restricts marriage to the union of one man and one woman.

The ACLU along with organizations and groups from around the state are hosting Decision Day rallies across Pennsylvania in support of marriage equality.

Rally locations:

  • Philadelphia: City Hall Apron (north side) - 5 p.m.
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh: 5800 Block of Ellsworth - 7 p.m.
  • Erie: Perry Square - 7 p.m.
6th & Slate St., Erie, PA
  • Harrisburg: Capitol building steps (3rd Street) - 6 p.m.
N 3rd St., Harrisburg, PA

To learn more about a rally near you, please click here. 

Learn more about this and other marriage equality cases across the country at www.americansformarriageequality.org

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