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Pennsylvania

Pa. lawyers defend state’s gay marriage ban, ask court to dismiss lawsuit

Thursday, February 20, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Lawyers for Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration are urging a state judge to uphold Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage by throwing out a lawsuit brought by more than two dozen same-sex couples that challenges its constitutionality.

Gov. Tom Corbett (R-Pa.)

Gov. Tom Corbett (R-Pa.)

Attorneys for Health Secretary Michael Wolf filed a brief Tuesday in Commonwealth Court, opposing the lawsuit brought by 21 same-sex couples who obtained marriage licenses from a suburban Philadelphia court clerk last year.

They drew distinctions between the case and last year’s landmark gay marriage ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, saying the ruling did not say states must allow or recognize same-sex marriage or say it would be a constitutional violation to limit marriages to between a man and a woman.

“Same-sex marriage is not deeply rooted in our nation’s history so as to be implicit in the concept of ordered liberty and, therefore, cannot be considered a fundamental right,” the attorneys argued, adding that a majority of states still limit marriages to between a man and a woman.

“The very recent developments among a minority of states do not transform same-sex marriage into a ‘deeply rooted’ historical and traditional right,” the state’s lawyers said.

The Pennsylvania suit is one of several court challenges to the ban.

Alexander Bilus, who represents the couples who filed the lawsuit, called the administration’s briefs unconvincing and said his side would produce a response for the court. Bilus said judicial decisions that have been generated in the wake of the United States v. Windsor case that resulted in the landmark ruling have tended to support his clients’ position.

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“Windsor stands for the proposition that a state law like Pennsylvania’s marriage law is based on an animus against a particular group, and for that reason violates both the United States and the Pennsylvania constitutions,” Bilus said.

The filing by the Corbett administration was a brief in support of its preliminary objections as it attempts to have the case thrown out at an early stage. The plaintiffs have several weeks to respond. A trial date has not been set.

The plaintiffs obtained marriage licenses last year from Bruce Hanes, an elected court clerk in Montgomery County, before a state judge ordered him to stop the practice. Hanes had issued 174 licenses between the time when the Windsor case was decided in June and the state court’s order in September. He is appealing that decision.

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46 more reader comments:

  1. not gonna happen

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:15am
  2. Nah. Nah.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:15am
  3. How about, “NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:15am
  4. Guess we going back to 80s when being ‘different’ was illegal?

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:16am
  5. hell no,,,time to protest.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:17am
  6. its not going to be dismissed its to late to stop us

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:18am
  7. Not gonna happen asshole

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:19am
  8. Come on, PA, don’t fail me now. I want full rights here, toom

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:20am
  9. how could it be deeply rooted if bigots like you have taken away that right?

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:21am
  10. Corbett needs to go away….

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:23am
  11. Our country is fucked up big time.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:24am
  12. geez

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:25am
  13. The lawsuit will not be thrown out since DOMA went down states are falling one by one the states have no grounds to stand on PA will have marriage equality

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:26am
  14. Fat chance

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:26am
  15. Being one of the 174 same sex couple’s that DID receive a Marriage License in Pennsylvania , I can not wait for OUR day in court. To be able to FINALLY receive the Same rights as ANY other married ” straight couple ” .

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:26am
  16. Wish they would stop playing around and get it to a trial date...

    Replied on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 3:40am
  17. That’s How They Will Never Be In The White House NO MORE HATE DO NOT VOTE FOR ANY ONE AGAIST US .

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:26am
  18. What else is new …

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:27am
  19. IDIOTS…all of them…

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:31am
  20. Does ALL this bullshit have to be pumped through the SCOTUS to make things right? WHY did this law even get passed? Wasting the taxpayers money by the arrogant assholes for the ignorant vote of pathetic morons. America at it’s worst…

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:36am
  21. Love cannot be banned.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 1:49am
  22. It looks like it can in Arizona.

    Replied on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2:38am
  23. Corbett is Catholic – and PA the stare I live in is totally ass backwards!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2:02am
  24. eviscerate and decapitate. 3:)

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2:05am
  25. Forget you!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2:11am
  26. Derechos. Igualdad

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2:22am
  27. Yo no entiendo eso

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2:22am
  28. This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to vote straight line Democrat, and to sue, sue, sue, sue for equal civil rights.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2:23am
  29. not going to happen Corbett!! *tick tick tick* that’s the sound of your time as governor and the ban is running out of time!!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2:30am
  30. What an asshole. I know physical violence isn’t right but would someone smack him upside the head anyway.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2:38am
  31. CORBETT IS AN ASS!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 2:45am
  32. I hope this judge really believes in justice and does not dismiss the lawsuit

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 3:38am
  33. God I’m glad I moved out of that state!!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 3:45am
  34. He is a douche….but there are lots of those types in PA, where there is a church every 6 feet.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 4:06am
  35. No, don’t think so, Tom.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 4:15am
  36. KEEP OUT OF PENNSYLVANIA: they have not evolved into human beings because they can not think outside of hate…

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 4:51am
  37. Get, over it… Asshole!!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 5:53am
  38. You mean this Republican is harassing gays?

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 6:34am
  39. When will this discrimination end?!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 7:39am
  40. They will lose…

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 9:04am
  41. God will judge your unloving actions against his childred!

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 10:11am
  42. Was the judge ever punished for officiating the marriages?

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 11:09am
  43. I’m betting these are the SAME PA. lawyers who HAD to admit that PA found NO “Voter Fraud” while trying to defend PA’s VOTER SUPPRESSION laws (and FAILED). The are gonna LOSE this one, as well.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:02pm
  44. Religion in politics, what would George Washington say to that?

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 12:48pm
  45. Fucking assholes.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 3:15pm
  46. Hey Corbett get a life and get over it nitwit.

    Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014 at 3:33pm