Federal Judge Strikes Down PA Ban On Same Sex Marriages

gay-marriage

A federal judge has declared Pennsylvania’s ban on same sex marriages unconstitutional.

The case of Whitewood v. Wolf was decided today by the Honorable John E. Jones III, who wrote as part of his opinion striking down the ban that:

“The issue we resolve today is a divisive one. Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage. However, that same-sex
marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. Were that not so, ours would still be a racially segregated nation according to the now rightfully discarded doctrine of ‘separate but equal.’ In the sixty years since Brown was decided, ‘separate’ has thankfully faded into history, and only ‘equal’ remains. Similarly, in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage.

We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”

Judge Jones is a Republican who was appointed by President George W. Bush to the federal bench in February 2002, having previously served as co-chair of the transition team for then Republican Governor-elect Tom Ridge.

Governor Ridge signed Pennsylvania’s “Defense of Marriage Act” into law back in 1996 that was struck down today by Judge Jones. The law defined marriage as “a civil contract by which one man and one woman take each other for husband and wife,” explicitly barring marriage between members of the same sex.

Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage existed only in statute, lacking a constitutional amendment barring the practice as existed in other states. State Representative Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) had co-sponsored the “Marriage Protection Amendment,” drafted by Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) back in 2011, that would have codified discrimination against gays and lesbians into the state’s constitution. That legislation failed to garner wide support.

“This is yet another win in a long line of rulings finding that denying same-sex couples the protections and dignity of marriage is unconstitutional,” said Leslie Cooper, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “Across the country, Americans are embracing the idea that same-sex couples and their families deserve to be treated the same as other families.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane had previously refused to defend the state’s statute against same-sex marriage from the lawsuit filed against the state. “Today, in Pennsylvania, the Constitution prevailed. Inequality in any form is unacceptable and it has never stood the test of time,” Kane wrote in a statement. “I have remained steadfast in my decision not to defend Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act because I made a legal determination as to the unconstitutionality of this law.”

Representative Daryl Metcalfe has been attempting to have Kane impeached for refusing to defend the state’s gay marriage ban.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has defended the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, a practice he has previously compared to the notion of two 12 year olds getting married or a brother and sister getting married.

Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik issued a statement decrying the judge’s ruling, “We as a culture have been steadily eroding the strength of our families by undermining the sacredness of marriage. The decision rendered today simply is another step down that road. It waters down the meaning of marriage.”

Pennsylvania was the last state in the northeast to still outlaw same-sex marriages. The state has 30 days to decide if it is going to appeal the case to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but Judge Jones declined to put his ruling on hold in the meantime. Organizations advocating for the rights of the LGBT community believe the United States Supreme Court will likely rule on same-sex marriage nationally within the next two years.

The Beaver County Register of Wills Office (which issues marriage licenses) told the Beaver Countian that a copy of Judge Jones’ ruling has been forwarded to their solicitor for review and they should have a statement about the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Beaver County “sometime tomorrow.”

On A Personal Note: After nearly 16 years of living together with my life partner as a couple we will finally be able to get married soon. I love my Brad deeply and for the first time in my adult life I finally feel like a full citizen of this country and state in which I was born. I am thankful for all of those who struggled so very hard and for so very long to make this day possible. If there are words to convey my emotions in this moment I do not know them.

 

42 comments

  1. Congratulations to the commonwealth.  And congratulation to you and Brad.

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  2. John Paul talks about Brad frequently and I am so happy for the two of them!  Congratulations from all of your courthouse moles JP!

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  3. This is sickening I’m tired of the gay agenda….I don’t care I will never consider two men or two women married

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    • Ralph Pastine You need to stop reading the buy-bull and start learning about true morality. The alleged christian God supports abortion, read Hosea 13:16

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    • I would love to hear what the “gay agenda” is….I hear everybody use that stupid term, but I’ve never heard an actual definition for it. Care to enlighten me please? 

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  4. Truthfully Ralph, we really don’t give a fat rats ass what you think. There is no agenda.

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  5. Silence JP! SILENCE!!!!While I am in favor of Gay People in society being able to Partner up and gaining the same benefits as a traditional marriage, I am NOT in favor of calling it “MARRIAGE”.  Call it a “Partnership” and give GAY PEOPLE the same rights as STRAIGHT people…but call it a PARTNERSHIP – not marriage.  That way everyone is happy and can’t complain.YOU’RE WELCOME!!!

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    • JP- may I add, THANK YOU for allowing me to voice my OPINION which is obviously different than yours.  THANKS!

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    • Sorry, no. It doesn’t work that way. That’s not equality. It doesn’t matter if the rights are the same. Separate, but equal. Sound familiar? 

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  6. Well Ralph, its a good thing the marriage of two people is solely between those two people, so reality doesn’t give a flying fuck what you think.

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  7. Congratulations to you and Brad, John Paul.

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  8. By the way, Congrats to J.P. and Brad!

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  9. So does this mean george david and dwan walker will be walking down the aisle tomorrow? (I jest). Great news for the state of PA and beaver county!

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  10. It’s nice to see Pennsylvania attempting to emerge from the Dark Ages. Congrats to everyone that this ruling effects, and best wishes to all!

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  11. SpeakTheTruthToo

    I saw this today as a Yahoo headliner. What great news.

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  12. The U.S.A. is going the way of the Roman Empire. We WILL fall, and it will be from within. Read the “Rise and fall of the Roman Empire”.

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    • U.S.A. R.I.P.: You are lying. You have not read “The History of the DECLINE and Fall of the Roman Empire”, by Edward Gibbon. I have. And you confuse the title with “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by William L. Shirer
      , or worse, the movie and popularized “Rise of…” expressions in the media — a common error, but in no way remotely possible by anyone who has read Gibbons’ works or even summaries of them. The “effeminacy” referred to by Gibbon refers to “softer”, — i.e., not militaristic — stereotypical social roles, modeled after the then-women’s societal roles, NOT sexual behavior. There is no direct linking to a homosexual or same-sex factor in the “Decline…” anywhere in the original six volumes. This connection is a self-serving, manufactured Christian interpretation.To use that fabricated nonsense here to suggest a decline of the U.S.A. because of same-sex relations is an intentional, hideous disservice. If you want to rid society of one of the most pernicious, damaging influences of all, get rid of the intrusive churches, the phony indoctrination myths they perpetuate and their involvement in virtually all wars, including and since the Middle Ages. And yes they WERE part of the Roman decline. Your comment here is an excellent example of that. Same-sex unions existed in Rome, and in other societies throughout history, but none have led to a fall of a society. People with your beliefs and practices, though, have consistently done this with abandon. 

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  13. Hosea 13:16 is not about abortion. God does not support abortion.

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  14. To be Honest…I’m not really into 2 guys French Kissing in Public with their hands all over each other!

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    • I’m not really into two people, I really don’t care what sex they may be, being intimate in public, but guess what? THE WORLD DOESN’T REVOLVE AROUND WHAT I (AND YOU) LIKE. SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP.

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  15. You got more Likes on this than Comments! Case Closed!

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  16. …”Judge Not, Lest You Be Judged”…regardless of if you do or do not agree….I

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  17. The world has been turned upside down. This is all nonsense.  There is no such thing as a gay marriage. Apparently, there is no such thing as  democracy either when some liberal lawyer in a black bathrobe gets to rule by fiat these days and make law from the bench.  

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    • Please explain how this ruling is going to change or disrupt your day to day life….the only nonsense here is that it’s taken so long for a judge to see that the ban was horseshit. 

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      • Silence Nikki, SILENCE!!!  How does this affect me?  
        1) Now I have to explain to my 3 kids how for thousands of years this was not LEGAL and now is all of the sudden it is. 
        2) Love is good between 2 people.  That is with any type of relationship…and that is good.  But now we have a weird decision to make.  If I were GAY and I get (adopt) a straight kid as a BABY, do I teach the kid to be GAY or BI SEXUAL?  That wouldn’t be right trying to convert a straight baby into a Gay baby.  Also, there is no “choosing” to be Gay.  I mean, people aren’t TAUGHT to be Gay, they are BORN THAT WAY correct?  I feel that some Gays would do a better job parenting than some straight couples do.  But if they were meant to have kids one would be able to conceive a child the way God intended us to – (man and woman produces a child),  It can not be done with a man and a man or a woman and a woman.  
        Don’t take this as insulting as I am trying to come to grips of the ramifications of this “child thing”.  I’m fine with the bond of two people.  I personally am in favor of Gays getting “Marriage rights” just as straight people do for tax purposes and health insurance, but instead call this new law a “Union” or “partner” but do not call it Marriage.  This way it keeps everyone happy by just using symantics.

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      • @dumbshit you do realize that you contradicted yourself in your inane rambling, correct? First, you said something about teaching a hypothetical child of a gay union to be either gay or bi, THEN you said that being gay is not a choice. Pick a stance, and stick with it. All you are doing is talking in circles, and trying to muddy the waters, when in fact, this DOES NOT affect you, your family, your neighbors, whomever, in ANY WAY, unless they have been denied the basic right that the rest of us take for granted. Then it affects them, because now, they can have the same basic rights as everyone else. And really, you’re SO flipped out over the redefinition of the word “marriage”? Isn’t there something else that takes higher precedence in this world?

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      • It really isn’t up to a judge to ban this and make law.  It’s not their job to put their own crazy interpretations on what the framers of the constitution meant either.  Check the history books.  The signers of the constitution were representing states that ALL punished homosexual activity with prison, castration or even death.   Do you mean to tell me that they meant to support homosexual marriage ?  And we are all damaged when a judge overturns duly passed law.  

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      • @buzzkill: I would LOVE for you to provide the part of the constitution where it talks about homosexuality and the punishment for it. I think you *may* be getting your old pieces of paper mixed up, and you meant to talk about the bible? Oh, but wait, depending on which invisible deity that you subscribe to, there is or isn’t anything about being gay in that, also. And this law, that WAS passed, but now, is overruled, was as unconstitutional as hell. You know, that whole “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” thing? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that is covered in there.

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      • Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness is from the Declaration of Independence not the Constitution .  Neither document allows doing so in the commission of a crime. That is what my original point was. Homosexuality was a crime in every state at the time the Constitution was written and signed by representatives of those states.  There is no way they would have been in favor of homosexual marriage since homosexuality itself was a crime in every state. Thomas Jefferson himself argued for a law for castration in virginia because he thought the then current law they had was too harsh with the death penalty. 

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      • @buzzkill: just for clarity’s sake, the judge didn’t overturn a law, he overturned a BAN on a basic civil right. Oh, and don’t really care if the “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” is in the constitution, bill of rights, or a coloring book, those are basic tenets of life, of being human. Who is ANYONE to deny basic rights, that everyone else gets, just because of sexual orientation?

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      • @nikki your answer! the ones that wish to procreate

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      • @mungo: so, in your brilliance, you’re stating that because we can procreate (and for the flying spaghetti monsters’ sake, I sure as fuck don’t mean you and I. I’d rather fuck a tree stump), but, because we can procreate, that means that we can take away the basic civil rights of others? You, sir, are just a jackass, plain and simple. Since you claim that your dog can talk to you, maybe you should spend some more time speaking to it. It may be able to educate you, and possibly raise your IQ a few points….

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  18. @U.S.A. R.I.P.: PROVE IT. If you can, I’ll retract the comments. It took me more than a month for me to read the works at Carnegie Library as part of background readings for a Greek and Roman Literature course at Pitt. No one would make such facile comments as yours if he had read the volumes. 

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    • @DumbAzz Nikki:
      There is also another party that is discriminated against when it comes to marriage :Cousins, brothers, and sisters.  Why can’t they marry?  Who is to deny them of a chance to marry if they love one another and want to get married?  That is the same premise as Gay Marriage.  So give me a reason. 

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      • Three different articles I’ve read, and all I see is your stupid as fuck comment about incestral marriage. The reason that we, as a species, NO LONGER marry our family members that we share the same DNA with us, is due to the fact that when you inbreed, you end up with a very high probability of genetic defects in the offspring. And seriously, on a personal note: NO. JUST NO. I think you need to take the advice that another commenter made to you, and get some help with those sick fantasies of yours. The sooner, the better.

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      • REPLY to DUMB ASS NIKKI:What if its 2 cousins of the same sex (2 males or 2 females) what’s wrong with that???  Its the same as GAY Marriage.  NO OFFSPRING,  Now what are you going to say???  Pandora’s box has been opened.  Don’t hate on the minority of people who want this.  Not me, but I will defend EVERYONES RIGHTS just like we just did with the Gays.  It may not be my personal choice, but lets be EQUAL to EVERYBODY…NOW!  Just like we did to gay people.

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      • This will be the last I state on this. Incest, by definition, is sexual relations by people who are too closely related to marry each other. So, right there, is your answer. Incest, be it with two men, two women, or whatever combination of peoples who share the same DNA your twisted, neanderthalic mind can come up with, is illegal, on ALL LEVELS. It is NOT the same as gay marriage, due to the fact that if the same sex couple were related by DNA, they would NOT be permitted to wed in ANY STATE. There is the answer you have been begging and needling for since last night. I doubt anyone else could possibly break that down to a more simple explanation for you, but seriously, if you needed it any simpler, you’re screwed anyways.

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  19. Well Tom, I’m not interested in wstching you french kiss a woman. Plus, when was the time you a two men kiss? I’m gay and NEVER see it in Beaver County. Maybe you would like to share a secret you have with us?

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