Close this search box.

PA Same-Sex Marriage Ban Struck Down [Updated]

lgbt-pa-flagSame-sex marriages are legal in the state of Pennsylvania thanks to a decision from U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III.

“We now join the twelve federal district courts across the country which, when confronted with these inequities in their own states, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage,” Jones wrote.

Jones ruled that Pennsylvania’s 1996 law banning same-sex marriage and recognizing same-sex marriage from other states unconstitutional. Jones was appointed to the bench in 2002 by President George W. Bush.

“[W]e hold that Pennsylvania’s Marriage Laws violate both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Because these laws are unconstitutional, we shall enter an order permanently enjoining their enforcement. 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.”

The Whitewood v. Wolf case was filed by the ACLU last July. Attorney General Kathleen Kane did not defend the case because she felt the law was unconstitutional.

Update: Attorney General Kathleen Kane released the following statement in praise of the decision:

“This is an historic day. More importantly, today brings justice to Pennsylvanians who have suffered from unequal protection under the law because of their sexual orientation. When state-sponsored inequality exists, citizens are deprived of the full protections that the Constitution guarantees. Our Commonwealth progressed today and so have the hopes and dreams of many who suffer from inequality.

Today, in Pennsylvania, the Constitution prevailed. Inequality in any form is unacceptable and it has never stood the test of time. 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. I am pleased that a learned legal mind such as Judge Jones ruled similarly.”

Update 2: The full opinion is accessible here. Additionally, Judge Jones issued an order that prevents any stay for the ban. Therefore, the ruling takes effect immediately. The order can be read here.

Update 3: The Pennsylvania Republican Party released the following statement in response to the ruling:

“Today, an activist judiciary has substituted its judgment in place of the law created by the elected representatives of Pennsylvania and has stifled the ongoing debate of people with differing points of view,” Gleason said. “The questions that face our commonwealth are best aired in the legislature with the representatives of the people.  This complete disregard of the important roles held by each branch of government is just another reason why we need to elect principled people to office to uphold our Constitution.

“Grassroots activists came together in 2012 to debate and form our Republican Party Platform, which clearly supports the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

“We believe all Pennsylvanians deserve dignity and respect regardless of their beliefs on this issue. However, the citizens of the Commonwealth also deserved to be participants in the ongoing discussion rather than be dictated to by judicial fiat.”

Update 4: Gov. Corbett announced today he will not appeal the court’s ruling. Here is his full statement:

“I have thoroughly reviewed Judge Jones’ opinion in the Whitewood case.  Given the high legal threshold set forth by Judge Jones in this case, the case is extremely unlikely to succeed on appeal.  Therefore, after review of the opinion and on the advice of my Commonwealth legal team, I have decided not to appeal Judge Jones’ decision.

“As a Roman Catholic, the traditional teaching of my faith has not w​​avered. I continue to maintain the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.  My duties as Governor require that I follow the laws as interpreted by the Courts and make a judgment as to the likelihood of a successful appeal.

“Throughout the debate on this important and meaningful issue, I have maintained that Commonwealth officials and agencies would follow the provisions of Pennsylvania’s marriage law unless or until a court says otherwise.  The court has spoken, and I will ensure that my administration follows the provisions of Judge Jones’ order with respect for all parties.

“It is my hope that as the important issue of same-sex relationships continues to be addressed in our society, that all involved be treated with respect.”

29 Responses

  1. bungy-

    It’s so cute that you think there actually is Hell with actual fire. Do you think the devil has a mustache, pointy ears, wears red and carries a pitchfork too?

    Do you like the Dante’s Inferno fantasy world with different levels?

    If you eat shellfish, do you run to confession so you won’t risk dying in sin?

  2. Philly Progressive-
    It’s hard to tell if you are obsessed with me or my system. Have we met? (hard to tell when you hide under an alias).
    Do you have an account on my system, or have you actually used it?

  3. Dave Diano, I want to commend you for not using your post on this thread to try to promote your voter file. I realize it probably took tremendous restraint for you. Well done sir.

    As an aside, I was talking with one of your former clients… Where exactly in Pennsylvania is Toledo, Ohio?

  4. bungy-

    1) As Isaac pointed out, we don’t live in a theocracy. The Bible is not the ruling document. Those that do not believe in the Bible or have different religions are not bound by its “teachings”, nor forced to follow them.

    2) Didn’t King David have a whole bunch of wives? Hmmm. maybe you should read the Bible.

    3) The Earth is 4.5 billion years old (a lot older than the Bible) and there was no flood or Noah’s Ark.

    4) Eating shellfish is a sin (according to the Bible, anyway)

  5. Tony and Isaac, pick up a Bible before it’s to late. The end may be near. Your constitution will have no meaning when your being judged.

  6. Bungy, and like minded bigots – the only thing that is off limits is your own ignorance. Put down your Bible and pick up the Constitution of the United States of America, assuming, that is, that you know how to read.

  7. Bungy – if you want to live in a theocracy, you can move to Iran, but we live in America and we don’t govern with Sharia Law, Lex Talionis, or any other kind of biblical/religious law – our leaders swear to uphold the Constitution, not the Bible, so how about you read that (might I suggest special attention to the First and Fourteenth Amendments).

    Michael Sam – Go read the Commonwealth Attorneys Act of 1980.

    Looks like the anti-equality crowd still can’t offer a logical, non-religious reason for preventing two committed and consenting adults from entering into a legally binding civil institution and instead must resort to outrageous and ridiculous logical fallacies. I’d take them more seriously if they were also out campaigning to restore the old divorce laws (but then the divorce rate is quite a bit higher in more conservative Christian areas and the divorce rate among atheists is substantially lower, so that likely would also affect them).

    History will look at them like all bigots and fighters for oppression: with scorn, ridicule, and, for their descendants, shame. Theirs is not a swan song – there’s nothing beautiful about it – it’s the screeching of a dying rodent caught in a trap. It’s the sad lament of a has-been, grown-up teen idol, slowly drowning in silent irrelevancy.

  8. Dear Sue Corbett: Every time you ride on the PA Turnpike don’t you think about Big Daddy Roger Nutt and the Nutt family’s great public service? Why did Big Daddy Nutt get the cushy turnpike job? Do you ever wonder if the Nutts silence is being purchased? You can’t expect voters to believe that Big Daddy Nutt was the only honest and qualified man for that most sought-after job?

  9. I like how Kathleen Kane just completely refused to defend a law that she personally doesn’t like. That’s why she’s the right person for the job of AD. Basically, PA follows whatever laws Kathleen Kane deems legit. She’s just doing whatever the Hell she wants, apparently. Too bad Miss Kane isn’t against ObamaCare like the majority of PA residents. I guess that’s a “real” law that we all have to follow. Gay marriage ban? Not a “real” law according to Kane, so we’ll just ignore that. It’s a shame that Kane puts politics first and the people of PA second. But, what can we expect from a committed leftist that barely knows anything about the law? She sure looks good in a skirt though, so that’s all that matters!

  10. Another legal defeat for Corbett following the loss on voter id. More money wasted on contracted lawyers hand picked by one-term Tom who are no doubt contributors to his campaign.

  11. David Diano – Quick, dig up Arlen and make your way to the nearest courthouse before another judge stays this ruling!

  12. bungy-
    Did you make these same sort of comments when you found out that black and white couples could get married or people of different religions?

    Marriage is between two PEOPLE.

    You and your hamster can get married when your hamster can vote, sign legal documents, turns 18, and is no longer your prisoner in a cage force to be your love slave.

  13. My hamster turned me down. I will now propose to my goldfish. When does it end? Is anything off limits anymore?

  14. Time to move out of the USSR and to the USA. I forgot I’m already here. This party is over. I will pray for all.

  15. Inevitably the ruling that this one judge put forth renders any other sort of restrictions on marriage unconstitutional. Hopefully a hold will be placed pending an appeal

  16. Judge Jones was appointed by President Bush, recommended by Rick Santorum, and he cited Justice Scalia in his decision. The right wingers should go talk to their heroes if they’re upset with the decision. They gave Judge Jones the power to make it. I’m all for the decision, but Santorum recommending him may be the best part of the story.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

    Loading ... Loading ...
Continue to Browser


To install tap and choose
Add to Home Screen