10 July 2013

ACLU sues for right to same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Now it's time to take on similar state-based laws that promote inequality.

To that end, on Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal lawsuit challenging a Pennsylvania state law that excludes same-sex couples from marriage.

Below is an excerpt from an ACLU press release about the Pennsylvania case:

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. This lawsuit comes in the wake of the ACLU's victory before the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor, which requires federal recognition for lesbian and gay couples who are married in their home states. 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.

"We only want what every married couple wants - to express our love and commitment in front of friends and family and the security and protections that only marriage provides," said plaintiff Deb Whitewood, who has been together with her spouse Susan Whitewood for 22 years. "Our life is built around our relationship and the family we have made."

The plaintiffs include 10 couples, two minor children of those couples, and one widow who recently lost her partner of 29 years.

>> Read the full press release.

And stay tuned for updates.

Meantime, I hope to see many similiar actions spring up around the country. Currently, 13 states and the District of Columbia legally recognize same-sex marriage. That leaves 37 states to go. That's way too many, so we must get busy!

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