HARRISBURG, Pa. — The federal judge who struck down Pennsylvania’s law banning the recognition of same-sex marriage said Monday he saw no proof that same-sex marriage destroys the strength of families.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, responding to criticism of his decision, noted that Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration did not even try to establish such a link in the case before him. He suggested that such a link is not persuading any other judge, either.
“There’s a reason that I was the 13th of 13 judges to decide that because that has not held water in any of the cases that have been litigated in the United States,” Jones said on WITF-FM’s hourlong show “Smart Talk.”
He was responding to a statement by Bishop David Zubik of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh read to him by the show’s host. In the May 20 statement, Zubik said: “We as a culture have been steadily eroding the strength of our families by undermining the sacred ness of marriage. The decision rendered today simply is another step down that road.”
Jones’ decision to strike down Pennsylvania’s 1996 law banning same-sex marriage made him the 13th state or federal judge to make a similar finding in an unbroken string of victories for gay-marriage backers.
“I am concerned as (Zubik) is about the family structure in the United States, but I think to relate it to this particular issue, frankly, was not proven and has not been proven,” Jones said.
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Asked about his statement in the decision that “it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history,” Jones said there was little history behind 1990s-era laws that banned same-sex marriage.
Those laws “were somewhat reactionary pieces of legislation based on some perception or fear that really might have been overemphasized in its time, ” Jones said. “And through the prism of what, 18 or so years, I suspect it looks differently to most people now.”
Jones, a Republican, was an appointee of former President George W. Bush.
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