Pennsylvania has been in the news a lot lately for our struggle for marriage equality. Here’s a quick round-up of where we are.
The ACLU lawsuit is still pending, this was first announced after the Prop 8 and DOMA decisions and is actually separate from everything else going on. Our Attorney General declined to defend it, since she believes it is unconstitutional and would not stand in court, opting to save the state money. Governor Corbett, however, picked up the defense and is now using a $400/hour lawyer, charged to the taxpayers, to defend Pennsylvania’s ban on marriage equality in court.
What’s kept us in the news lately has been marriage licenses coming from a county hear Philadelphia. A case was heard, and the Governor’s lawyers shoved their feet so far into their mouths, it garnered national attention for their offensive remarks:
In a brief Wednesday, state attorneys said those marriage licenses were never valid, and compared gay and lesbian couples to “12-year-olds” who are also barred from marrying under state law.
The Governor backtracked from those remarks after the backlash heated up, which I suppose is something.
The wording of that brief however, called these marriages “meaningless.” And I think that’s the most hurtful part. These are people’s lives, people’s loves that they’re calling meaningless, because Corbett is desperately trying to cling to some sort of base to keep him in office next year.
And I may be wrong, but here is what I understand, once a marriage license has been given to a couple, they can be married by anyone in the the state that has that authority, so people like Mayor Fetterman aren’t breaking any laws. Again, I may be off on that, and it’s really a technicality, but one that I would hope would give more public officials ways to show their support.
So the two trials will continue, and the spotlight isn’t going to be moving off of Pennsylvania anytime soon, as we’re the only state in the entire northeast that has no legal recognition of same-sex relationships (NJ has civil unions, but no marriage equality, and every other state has marriage equality).
Update: The court has ordered the the county clerk to stop issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples.