Federal Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania's Gay-Marriage Ban

| by Jared Keever

A federal judge struck down Pennsylvania’s law banning same-sex marriage Tuesday. The state joins Oregon and a dozen other states that have had their laws or amendments banning gay marriage declared unconstitutional in the past year. The ruling in Oregon came earlier this week.

Judge John E. Jones III of Federal District Court in Pennsylvania did not issue a stay for his decision, as some other judges have done. That means couples in Pennsylvania can apply for marriage licenses immediately. According to state law they will still have to wait out a three-day waiting period before the license is issued.

“We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history,” Jones wrote in his decision.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said she does not intend to mount an appeal of the ruling.

"Today brings justice to Pennsylvanians who have suffered from unequal protection under the law because of their sexual orientation," Kane said, according to CNN.

She also said she will not defend “Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act because I made a legal determination as to the unconstitutionality of this law.”

Ashley Wilson and Lindsay Vandermay, both 29, were among Tuesday’s first applicants for a marriage license.

Vandermay told the New York Times that the couple had been closely monitoring Twitter waiting for news of the decision.

“As soon as we heard, Ashley started crying and I started screaming,” she said.

Jones was recommended to the bench by then-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa, and appointed by President George W. Bush, according to Think Progress.

Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, said he did not agree with the ruling and said he would support an appeal by Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican.

"The administration owes it to the people of Pennsylvania to pursue this matter vigorously through the court system, and give marriage the defense it requires and deserves," Brown said.

Corbett’s office said it is reviewing the decision and will issue a statement Wednesday.

Sources: CNN, New York Times, Think Progress