Some of the plaintiffs who challenged Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage in court celebrated the ruling Tuesday during a rally on the steps of the state Capitol. About 200 people attended the rally.
“I’m amazed. My head is spinning,” said Julia Lobur, while standing next to her wife, Marla Cattermole. The two married in Iowa. As part of the judge’s decision Tuesday, same-sex marriages performed out of state are now recognized in Pennsylvania.
The women were among 21 plaintiffs in a case brought by the ACLU of Pennsylvania last summer. Judge John Jones’s decision follows a series of court decisions in other states which have found bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.
In his opinion Jones writes, “We now join the twelve federal district courts across the country which, when confronted with these inequities in their own state, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage.”
At the end of the opinion he adds, “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.”
Pennsylvania has become the 19th state to recognize same-sex marriage.
The Pennsylvania Family Institute, which supports the Defense of Marriage Act, expressed disappointment with the judge’s decision.
“There’s something unique about bringing a man and a woman together for the good of children. And, to treat that as essentially the functional equivalent of bigotry is unfair to real bigotry,” said Randall Wenger, chief counsel for the institute.
Gov. Tom Corbett (R) did not say Tuesday if he’ll appeal the decision. He said he would have further comment Wednesday. He has 30 days to decide whether to appeal.
While Philadelphia began issuing licenses Tuesday, Dauphin County’s Register of Wills said her office would begin issuing them at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
“We used to be so sad to leave Iowa and leave our marriage behind there. But, now we can come to Harrisburg and come back home and have our marriage right where it should be,” said Lobur.