Federal judge allows Pennsylvania same-sex marriage suit to proceed

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania [official website] denied two motions Friday seeking to dismiss a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage. The challenge was brought [WP report] by the secretaries of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Department of Revenue and the Bucks County register of wills [official websites]. Judge John Jones III will meet with the attorneys involved in the case November 22 to set a date for trial.

In July Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane [official website] announced [JURIST report] at a press conference that she would not defend Pennsylvania's statutory ban on same-sex marriage. Title 23, Chapter 11, section 1102 of the Pennsylvania consolidated statutes defines [text] marriage as " A civil contract by which one man and one woman take each other for husband and wife." Kane's statements [WP report] were in response to a lawsuit [JURIST report] filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] seeking to overturn the ban. The ACLU lawsuit came on the heels of the US Supreme Court [official website] ruling in June in two landmark same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] cases. In United States v. Windsor [SCOTUSblog backgrounder], the court ruled [JURIST report] 5-4 that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text; JURIST news archive] is unconstitutional. Under DOMA, couples in same-sex marriages legally recognized by a state were denied federal benefits extended to married couples.

 

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