U.S. News


Pennsylvania Same-Sex Marriage Ban Overturned

A district court judge ruled the state's 1996 Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, making Pennsylvania the 19th state to allow same-sex marriage.
Posted at 6:49 PM, May 20, 2014

It's been a busy few weeks for judges ruling on same-sex marriage. Tuesday, a judge in Pennsylvania struck down the state's ban on gay marriage — the second such ruling so far just this week.

State offices immediately began issuing marriage licenses following the ruling, which overturned the state's 18-year-old Defense of Marriage Act and has drawn some attention for its colorful language. (Via WPXI)

Judge John Jones peppered his ruling with phrases from wedding vows, using "for richer, for poorer," "in sickness and in health" and "until death do us part" as subheadings. He ended with, "We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."

The decision makes Pennsylvania the 19th state to allow same-sex marriage and solidifies marriage equality throughout the Northeast. And it follows a string of similar rulings this month.

Monday, a district court judge struck down a similar ban in Oregon, automatically legalizing same-sex marriage in the state. (Via  KATU)

The Tuesday before that, another judge struck down Idaho's ban, though same-sex couples weren't able to get married before an appeals court put a stay on the ruling. But that's nothing compared to the confusion in Arkansas. (Via KIVI)

A back-and-forth between a circuit court judge and the state's supreme court left the state's same-sex marriage ban overturned, then re-enacted, then overturned again, then re-enacted again while the issue is under review. (Via KLRT)

Pennsylvania's attorney general didn't defend the ban and won't appeal the judge's decision, though Republican governor Tom Corbett has 30 days to do so.