Pa’s Governor and AG Refuse to Defend State’s Gay Marriage Ban Again
Pennsylvania’s top state officials are hoping to get dismissed from a federal law-suit filed by a lesbian couple over Pa.’s same-sex marriage ban.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Gov. Tom Corbett were named defendants in the case which was filed in late September. The lawsuit is just one of several federal lawsuits Pa. is facing regarding the state statute barring recognition of same-sex marriage – the law, which defines marriage as the union of “one man and one woman,” was enacted in 1996 .
Cara Palladino and Isabelle Barker, who married in 2005 and resided in Massachusetts before moving to Philadelphia, are the fourth suit against PA’s ban on same-sex marriage. The couple, who had a son in 2009, wants the state to recognize their marriage.
Over 20 same-sex couples filed suits in September in hopes the state’s same-sex marriage ban will be found unconstitutional and finally be overturned. The state lawsuit also named Gov. Corbett and Kane defendants.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a challenge to the federal court in July and the state Health Department sued to stop a county official who was marriages to same-sex couples.
Kane filed a motion on Monday for the Palladino and Barker case claiming there is no evidence of her office being involved in violating any of their rights. According to Kane the state’s Health and Revenue Departments are more involved in the matter.
Corbett’s lawyers have filed a motion prior to this to dismiss any claims against him acknowledging a ruling in 1972 by the Supreme Court which states the federal courts lack jurisdiction over state marriage laws.
A federal judge in Harrisburg rejected that excuse in a trial last month. Judge John Jones II said a trial will take place in June 2014 in federal court for a lawsuit seeking to overturn Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. Jones is noted for being the same judge who didn’t approve motions from Corbett to push the date back.
“The jurisprudence of equal protection and substantive due process has undergone what can only be characterized as a sea change since 1972,” Jones wrote according to the Times Herald.
The trial set for June 9 is the first of several federal and state challenges of the law. Currently sixteen states and D.C allow same-sex marriage.
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