Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pennsylvania Piles On

First it was one or two a year, then it became every few months.  And now it seems like every other day there is a ruling from a state or federal court on marriage equality, and they’re all saying the same thing: banning same sex-marriage is unconstitutional.

Yesterday Pennsylvania joined the throng.

Continuing a rush of rulings that have struck down marriage limits across the country, a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Tuesday declared the state’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.

“We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history,” wrote Judge John E. Jones III of Federal District Court in a decision posted on Tuesday afternoon.

Pennsylvania is the last of the Northeast states with a ban on same-sex marriage, and if Tuesday’s ruling is not successfully challenged, it will become the 19th state to permit gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Judge Jones did not issue a stay, writing, “By virtue of this ruling, same-sex couples who seek to marry in Pennsylvania may do so, and already married same-sex couples will be recognized as such in the Commonwealth.”

Even as Gov. Tom Corbett said he was studying the decision and considering whether to appeal it, state officials began issuing marriage licenses on Tuesday afternoon to overjoyed gay couples.

It is now not just a matter of if the United States Supreme Court will take up the case, but when.