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Pennsylvania

Same-sex marriage proponents kick off Pennsylvania campaign

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Proponents of same-sex marriage launched a campaign Wednesday to build public support for legalizing gay marriage in Pennsylvania – the last holdout among the Northeast states.

love-philadelphiaNews conferences trumpeting the Why Marriage Matters Pennsylvania campaign, sponsored by the national advocacy group Freedom to Marry and the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, were held in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

“Pennsylvania’s ban on marriages for same-sex couples is harmful and indefensible. We look forward to continuing our efforts to make sure that every Pennsylvanian will be free to marry the person he or she loves,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the state ACLU.

Evan Wolfson, who grew up in Pennsylvania and is the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, said the campaign’s goal is to encourage “neighbor to neighbor” conversations about why marriage is important to same-sex couples and their families.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bill Peduto spoke at the events in their cities.

“Pennsylvania, like many states, is moving toward the freedom to marry as more and more citizens and officials recognize that discrimination is not the direction of progress,” said Nutter, co-chairman of the national Mayors for the Freedom to Marry campaign.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia currently recognize same-sex marriage, including all nine Northeast states except Pennsylvania, whose law defines marriage as a civil contract between “one man and one woman.” The law also bans recognition of same-sex marriages from other states.

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The campaign is being launched as a half-dozen lawsuits challenging the Pennsylvania law progress through the federal and state courts.

A trial on the first and most sweeping lawsuit is scheduled to start June 9 in federal court in Harrisburg. The ACLU and the Philadelphia law firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller filed the constitutional challenge on behalf of 25 plaintiffs, including a widow, 11 couples and one of the couples’ two teenage daughters.

In another case, a county court clerk outside Philadelphia is appealing to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court a state court’s ruling that bars him from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

D. Bruce Hanes, clerk of the Montgomery County Orphan’s Court, had issued licenses to 174 same-sex couples before a Commonwealth Court judge ordered him to stop in September.

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23 more reader comments:

  1. awesome

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:42pm
  2. Great!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:43pm
  3. My state/commonwealth.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:46pm
  4. Wonderful

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:47pm
  5. Kick Ass!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:51pm
  6. DON’T JUST “Like”! We must “SHARE” and spread the word. Thanks!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:53pm
  7. GREAT

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:54pm
  8. That would 18 right?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:54pm
  9. Yeah PA!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:57pm
  10. About time

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 7:58pm
  11. Awesome

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 8:05pm
  12. Good Luck Pennsylvania

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 8:14pm
  13. Did they say yes?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 9:09pm
  14. Go PA!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 9:46pm
  15. Bout fucking time

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 10:12pm
  16. Love It

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 11:44pm
  17. good job

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 11:51pm
  18. Yahoo!

    Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 1:13am
  19. Come on! JUST LEGALIZE IT! If anyone has a problem with that, then it’s their own flippin’ problem!

    Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 2:15am
  20. We have to fight tooth and nail. There should be no reason to have to go to court to win basic human rights guaranteed by the constitution.

    Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 2:18am
  21. Good luck. I lived in Pennsylvania, and I don’t see this happening any time soon…

    Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 3:30am
  22. GO PA. I want to get married in Philly!

    Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 3:39am
  23. I hope we never forget the struggles of our past that have allowed us to realize the change we are experiencing today.

    Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 1:13pm