Local News

Judge rules ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional, so now what?

With news of a Pennsylvania judge ruling that a law banning same-sex marriages is unconstitutional, many wonder what is next?

“We will comply with the court order and begin accepting marriage license applications when the Dauphin County courthouse opens Wednesday morning at 8 a.m.” said Jean Marfizo King, Dauphin County’s Register of Wills and Clerk
of Orphans’ Court. “We will treat same-sex couples the same as we would any other.”

Appeal?
The marriage licenses in Pennsylvania have a three day waiting period before they are effective. “Couples will be applying for licenses that will be issued as early as Saturday, however, there is the possibility that a higher court or the U.S. Supreme Court could invalidate these licenses,” said Tom Gacki, a Solicitor with the Register of Wills. “Our understanding is that Tom Corbett intends to appeal.”

Governor Tom Corbett has 30 days to decide. “It’s a question of whether he requests and or gets an emergency stay,” said Gacki.

If an emergency stay is granted, marriage licenses would be automatically invalidated, at least until the stay is overturned.

If Governor Corbett does not request or get an emergency stay, licenses would be upheld until higher courts rule on the appeal.

Waiting
For Jefferson and his boyfriend of eight years the decision means they can finally get married.

“We just got off the plane from Paris last night, and so this is my welcome home gift, it’s good to be home,” said Jefferson Rougeau of Harrisburg.

“I was carrying around a ring for ten days in Paris and I couldn’t find the right time. This seemed like the right time, because now I can really get married instead of just say do you want to get married,” said Rougeau.

He prooposed to his boyfriend on the steps of the State Capitol during a rally in support of same-sex marriage. Stephen said yes. “We had always said that we would never even consider it until it was legal in Pennsylvania,” said Stephen Creps of Harrisburg.

The couple plans to get their marriage license first-thing Wednesday morning and then plan a destination wedding.

Rougeau said he can’t imagine Governor Tom Corbett appealing the decision. “This is no longer a political issue this is our human rights. Really? Are you really going to go against human rights?”

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