On May 20, 2014, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones ruled that Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. Judge Jones’ ruling has cleared the way for same-sex couples in Pennsylvania to get married.
Since the federal court struck down Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban, thousands of same-sex couples have married throughout Pennsylvania. Prior to Judge Jones’s ruling, Pennsylvania defined marriage as “a civil contract by which one man and one woman take each other for husband and wife”. Additionally, Pennsylvania unambiguously banned same-sex marriage: “it is hereby declared to be the strong and longstanding public policy of this Commonwealth that marriage shall be between one man and one woman.
A marriage between persons of the same sex which was entered into in another state or foreign jurisdiction, even if valid where entered into, shall be void in this Commonwealth”. In his opinion, Judge Jones expressed that “we are a better people than what these laws represent” and he drew comparisons between the civil rights movement and the modern gay marriage movement.
Furthermore, Judge Jones so eloquently opined that “it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.” In response to questions as to whether she planned to appeal Judge Jones’ ruling, Attorney General Kane expressed that she had no intentions on appealing the federal court’s decision to overturn Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban because the ban is unconstitutional.