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Santorum-Nominated Federal Judge Knocks Down PA Marriage Ban

Oh, happy day! Pennsylvania catches up with the rest of the Northeast.
Santorum-Nominated Federal Judge Knocks Down PA Marriage Ban
Ashley Wilson, left, and Lindsay Vandermay, both 29, react after getting their marriage license at the Philadelphia Marriage Bureau in City Hall. Image from: AP/Matt Slocum

Judge Jones: "We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."

Ironically enough, this judge was nominated by then-Sen. Rick Santorum. I'm so happy that my state is finally catching up with everywhere else:

A federal judge struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday afternoon.

Judge John Jones III ruled in favor of 23 Pennsylvania residents who challenged the state's 1996 Defense of Marriage Act by filing a suit with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"The issue we resolve today is a divisive one," Jones said. "Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage. However, that same sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional."

In declaring Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the judge did not, however, issue a stay of his own ruling, meaning it will go into effect immediately. The decision can and likely will be challenged in the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

With the addition of Pennsylvania, 44 percent of the nation's population lives in a state that permits gay and lesbian couples to marry. Pennsylvania was the last remaining state in the Northeast to outlaw gay marriage.

Last year, Attorney General Kathleen Kane called the law unconstitutional and refused to support Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's decision to defend it.

Today, Kane, a Democrat, said the ruling brought "justice to Pennsylvanians who have suffered from unequal protection under the law because of their sexual orientation."

State Rep. Brian Sims, the first openly gay person elected to Pennsylvania's General Assembly, lauded the court's decision.

"Today, a federal court in Pennsylvania has affirmed what a majority of Pennsylvanians already support: the fundamental right to marry the person they love," Sims said.

Image from: Democratic Underground

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