The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s anti-gay marriage law. The suit was filed on Tuesday on behalf of 21 Pennsylvanians who want to marry and have the state recognize their out-of-state marriages.
The federal suit– filed by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the National ACLU and the law firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller–alleges that state’s Defense of Marriage Act and refusal to marry lesbian and gay couples or recognize their out-of-state marriages violates the fundamental right to marry as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Pennsylvania case is Whitewood v. Corbett and directly involves 10 same-sex couples, two minor children and a widow who lost her partner of 29 years.
“We only want what every married couple wants – to express our love and commitment in front of friends and family and the security and protections that only marriage provides,” said plaintiff Deb Whitewood, who has been together with her spouse Susan Whitewood for 22 years. “Our life is built around our relationship and the family we have made.”
This lawsuit comes in the wake of the ACLU’s victory before the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor, which requires federal recognition for lesbian and gay couples who are married in their home states.
Pennsylvania’s law defines marriage as between a man and a woman, similar to the federal law struck down by the Supreme Court, and it denies recognition to same-sex marriages legally performed elsewhere.
Click here to view the Whitewood complaint.