Lawsuit filed in PA to allow marriage equality
The American Civil Liberties Union is holding a press conference in the Capitol this morning to announce a new lawsuit in Pennsylvania: They’ll be suing on behalf of 23 Pennsylvanians who want to get married or want Pennsylvania to recognize their out-of-state marriage.
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.
“Plaintiffs argue that the court should closely scrutinize this discriminatory treatment because the state’s Defense of Marriage Act burdens the fundamental right to marry and because it discriminates based on sex and sexual orientation,” according to the press release.
The case comes both in the wake of the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, the former of which was originally brought to the court by the ACLU in U.S. vs. Windsor.
Of those represented in the case, there are 10 couples, two children of those couples and a woman who recently became a widow to her 29-year partner.
The ACLU will be arguing the case against Corbett and co., according to court documents, by saying exclusion of marriage “undermines the plaintiff couples’ ability to achieve their life goals and dreams, threatens their mutual economic stability, and denies them ‘a dignity and status of immense import,’” which is similar to what was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Further, they claim the couples’ exclusion “humiliates…children now being raised by same-sex couples” and “makes it even more difficult to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community.”
The lawsuit comes just two weeks after state Reps. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) and Steve McCarter (D-Montgomery) wrote a co-sponsorship memo saying they’d be introducing an equal marriage amendment in the state House. State Sen. Daylin Leach has introduced a similar bill in the state Senate. Rep. Sims, when contacted by PW, noted as a civil rights lawyer, he welcomes the suit.
“We have three branches of government for a reason, and two are racing away from equality in one way or another,” he says. “Maybe the Judicial branch can get us there faster than we will as legislators.”