The day after a federal court struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on marriage equality, Gov. Tom Corbett announced the state would not appeal the ruling, officially making Pennsylvania the nineteenth state, plus the District of Columbia, where gay and lesbian couples can legally marry. As of today, 44 percent of Americans live in a marriage equality state. With today’s announcement, Gov. Corbett joins a number of other current and former Republican governors who have withdrawn their defense of marriage equality bans in court, including Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California.
“Governor Corbett did the right thing in not standing in the way of thousands of loving couples’ ability to make lifelong commitments to each other through marriage,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “Breaking down this dark wall of discrimination in the Keystone State strengthens our ever-growing momentum as we continue to expand the marriage equality map. Thanks to the hundreds of plaintiffs and attorneys across the country challenging these discriminatory marriage bans, its only a matter of time before a state border no longer dictates whether a loving couple can legally share in the joys of marriage.”
As of today 29 states have either enacted marriage equality through legislation or the ballot, or had their state marriage bans struck down as unconstitutional. Same-sex couples can legally marry in nineteen states and the District of Columbia, while 31 states have a law or constitutional amendment restricting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. Only two states – North Dakota and South Dakota – have bans on marriage equality but no current court cases challenging their constitutionality.
There are at least 70 court cases challenging discriminatory marriage bans across the country. 44 of these cases are currently pending in federal courts while 27 are pending in state courts, all in 29 states plus Puerto Rico. Since the U.S. Supreme court ruled in two historic marriage cases last summer, not a single state marriage ban has survived a court challenge.
According to a March 2014 Washington Post/ABC News poll, 59 percent of Americans support marriage rights for committed and loving gay and lesbian couples. That same month, Pew released poll results showing 61 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners under 30 favor marriage equality.