Federal Judge Rules PA Marriage Ban Unconstitutional - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Federal Judge Rules PA Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Posted: Updated:
Ban on Marriage Equality Struck Down in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania becomes the tenth state where a federal judge has struck down a marriage ban since historic U.S. Supreme Court decisions last year

WASHINGTON – Today 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. Just yesterday a federal judge in Oregon struck down that state’s constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. Given the state’s decision not to appeal the ruling, Oregon became the eighteenth where committed and loving gay and lesbian couples can legally marry. In response to today’s news out of Pennsylvania, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin issued the following statement:

“Today a federal judge appointed by President George W. Bush became the latest to uphold the most sacred ideals of this nation and our Constitution – that justice and equality matter above all else. It seems that every passing day brings LGBT Americans a new victory in our unwavering march toward justice. And thanks to our friends at the ACLU of PA and ACLU National, the attorneys of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller, and the proud plaintiffs who brought this case, the inescapable reality of full equality under the law is now one step closer.”

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.

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.


To date there have been at least six marriage cases filed in Pennsylvania, two in federal court and four in state court. Pennsylvania was the only remaining state in the Northeast without marriage equality. A March 2014 Washington Post-ABC News poll showed 59 percent of Americans support marriage equality.

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.”

Whitewood is one of over 70 marriage equality cases working their way through the judicial system across the country. These cases have been filed in 29 states plus Puerto Rico and account for hundreds of plaintiffs taking on state marriage bans. So far five federal appeals courts are presiding over nine marriage equality cases over the coming weeks and months. Same-sex couples can legally marry in eighteen states and the District of Columbia, while 32 states have a law or constitutional amendment restricting marriage to the union of one man and one woman.


Not everybody agrees with the ruling though.


Pennsylvania Family Institute Disagrees with Court Decision Redefining Marriage in Pennsylvania
Decision Undermines Family, Challenges Liberty & Diminishes Respect for the Law

(Harrisburg, PA) Tuesday, MAY 19, 2014 For Immediate Release

Despite today’s decision by United States District Judge John E. Jones III, the Pennsylvania Family Institute reaffirms its conviction that the long-standing definition of marriage between one man and one woman is not only constitutional, but essential to a free and flourishing society.

“This decision tosses aside not just the definition of marriage recognized in law by an overwhelming majority of the people’s representatives, but the definition that has been in place in Pennsylvania since our commonwealth’s founding more than two centuries ago,” said PFI president Michael Geer.

“Children have a right to a mother and a father,” Geer continued, “and that is a right that government is bound to respect and should encourage. Today’s decision abandons that responsibility in favor of a new framework that places the desires of adults above the good of children and society as a whole,” added Geer.

Randall Wenger, PFI Chief Counsel stated: “Today’s decision threatens the rights of those who believe marriage is between a man and a woman. As Americans we should be free to debate and decide issues of critical social importance. Judicial decrees like today’s marginalize those who understand what is special and indeed vital about this institution -- natural marriage -- that brings a man and a woman together for children.”

Marriage between one man and one woman has no parallels. Social science tells us there is nothing so beneficial to the well being of children as a mom and a dad committed to each other in marriage. This standard should be encouraged – not redefined and dismissed in favor of a new social experiment that could negatively impact children and families.

PFI’s Brandon McGinley pointed out, “This ruling short-circuits the public debate and legitimate policy process, and casts aside the will of the people of Pennsylvania and their elected representatives. This can only foster further distrust of our political system.”

The Pennsylvania Family Institute calls on Governor Tom Corbett to appeal this decision, and to make a vigorous defense of the fundamental institution of marriage at the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Despite the setback, the Pennsylvania Family Institute will continue to fight for public policy that’s best for children and families. “Our work is only more urgent in the wake of today’s decision,” said Geer.

Submit your event now
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • "Mummies" Take Stage at 8 Great Tuesdays

    "Mummies" Take Stage at 8 Great Tuesdays

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-07-30 02:46:38 GMT
    The skies stayed clear for another 8 Great Tuesdays concert, but what wasn't clear, was who exactly was on the stage.More >>
    The skies stayed clear for another 8 Great Tuesdays concert, but what wasn't clear, was who exactly was on the stage.More >>
  • Drowning Victim Never Reported Missing By Companions

    Drowning Victim Never Reported Missing By Companions

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:16 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:16:32 GMT
    Authorities know more now about the tragic drowning of a teen in Presque Isle Bay. It apparently happened last Thursday, when the boy was in the water with friends, but he was never reported missing. As 12News/SEENews first reported on the weekend, the victim surfaced Saturday morning near the mouth of Cascade Creek. The body of the teen was discovered by fishermen. The coroner identified the victim as 17-year-old Prem Thapa, a Bhutanese immigrant and a student at East High School. We've lear...More >>
    Authorities know more now about the tragic drowning of a teen in Presque Isle Bay. It apparently happened last Thursday, when the boy was in the water with friends, but he was never reported missing. As 12News/SEENews first reported on the weekend, the victim surfaced Saturday morning near the mouth of Cascade Creek. The body of the teen was discovered by fishermen. The coroner identified the victim as 17-year-old Prem Thapa, a Bhutanese immigrant and a student at East High School. We've lear...More >>
  • Daylight Reveals Scene of Tragic Canoeing Accident

    Daylight Reveals Scene of Tragic Canoeing Accident

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:27 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:27:44 GMT
    The waters of Lake Erie have claimed two lives in less than a week. The latest incident, a canoeing trip that turned tragic in western Erie County.More >>
    The waters of Lake Erie have claimed two lives in less than a week. The latest incident, a canoeing trip that turned tragic in western Erie County.
    More >>
  • Fish and Boat Commission Investigates Deadly Canoe Accident

    Fish and Boat Commission Investigates Deadly Canoe Accident

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 7:45 PM EDT2014-07-29 23:45:51 GMT
    The PA Fish and Boat Commission is investigating the circumstances of a deadly canoe accident on Elk Creek Monday night. Waterways Conservation Officer Brook Tolbert says the waters of Elk Creek were high because of heavy rains on Sunday. Tolbert said 53-year old Michael Kohler, and 33-year-old Matthew Kaliszewski were riding that high water when they got into difficulty. Tolbert said they did many things right, including wearing their life jackets, but their trip still ended tragically. The ...More >>
    The PA Fish and Boat Commission is investigating the circumstances of a deadly canoe accident on Elk Creek Monday night. Waterways Conservation Officer Brook Tolbert says the waters of Elk Creek were high because of heavy rains on Sunday. Tolbert said 53-year old Michael Kohler, and 33-year-old Matthew Kaliszewski were riding that high water when they got into difficulty. Tolbert said they did many things right, including wearing their life jackets, but their trip still ended tragically. The ...More >>
  • Construction Underway on Many New Businesses in Millcreek

    Construction Underway on Many New Businesses in Millcreek

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:26:32 GMT
    It's been a busy summer for construction projects in Millcreek Township. Work is currently underway on many new commercial and retail establishments.More >>
    It's been a busy summer for construction projects in Millcreek Township. Work is currently underway on many new commercial and retail establishments.More >>
  • Man Ejected from Truck in Harborcreek Twp. Accident

    Man Ejected from Truck in Harborcreek Twp. Accident

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:32:32 GMT
    A man was ejected from his truck in a one-vehicle accident, late this afternoon.More >>
    A man was ejected from his truck in a one-vehicle accident, late this afternoon.More >>
  • Man Admits Robbing Three Financial Institutions in Two Weeks

    Man Admits Robbing Three Financial Institutions in Two Weeks

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:50 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:50:46 GMT
    Erie Police arrested a man Monday in connection with a bank robbery earlier that afternoon. But it's what the suspect told them that may close a pair of other cases as well.More >>
    Erie Police arrested a man Monday in connection with a bank robbery earlier that afternoon. But it's what the suspect told them that may close a pair of other cases as well.
    More >>
  • Man Dead after Canoe Capsizes in Elk Creek

    Man Dead after Canoe Capsizes in Elk Creek

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 4:59 AM EDT2014-07-29 08:59:47 GMT
    A water rescue effort ends with rescue crews finding the body of a 33-year-old man in Elk Creek around 1am on Tuesday morning.More >>
    A water rescue effort ends with rescue crews finding the body of a 33-year-old man in Elk Creek around 1am on Tuesday morning.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
3514 State St. Erie, PA 16508
Newsroom: (814)454-8812
Toll Free: 1(800)454-8812
Business offices: (814)454-5201
WICU FCC Filing
WSEE FCC Filing
Share:
Share Stories
Submit your stories to our site!
Share Photos
Share your photos in our community galleries
Mobile:
Mobile Site
Be sure to stay constantly updated with the power of WICU12 and WSEE at your fingertips
Free Android App
Free iPhone App
Free iPad App
Storm Tracker App
Droid
iPhone
iPad
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WICU. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
                   WICU/WSEE - 3514 State Street Erie, PA 16508 - (814) 454-5201 - info@wicu12.com