The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriages. The organization filed a lawsuit in Federal court Tuesday in the hopes that the law is struck down.
Attorneys filed the suit on behalf of 21 Pennsylvanians, including a same-sex couple from Harrisburg.
This lawsuit comes on the heels of a recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down key parts of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Pennsylvania’s ACLU is hoping for a similar outcome as it challenges the state’s version of DOMA.
“The point of this lawsuit is to show that these families and the same as any other couple, except that they are both the same sex,” said Vic Walczak, Legal Director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.
Harrisburg couple Julia Lobur and Marla Cattermole are among the 10 same-sex couples and three other plaintiffs in the suit.
The couple have been together for 28 years. Four years ago, they were legally married in Iowa, but Pennsylvania does not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
“It made us sad that we couldn’t have the same rights, responsibilities, etc. as any other married couple,” Lobur said. “We were hoping that someday this day would come.”
Michael Geer, president of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, said there are other ways the benefits issue for same-sex couples could be rectified, other than overturning DOMA.
“The fact is, some of those things can be changed by law, without radically redefining the whole institution of marriage,” he said.
Geer also said he feels same-sex marriage is not an issue for the courts.
“The people of Pennsylvania have spoken already through their legislature to say marriage is and should continue to be the union of one man and one woman,” he said.
Currently, 13 states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages.
You can read the text of the lawsuit here.