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  #11  
Old 09-26-2013, 09:31 AM
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Default Re: Montgomery County To Issue Marriage Licenses To Same Sex Couples

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/...225269402.html

Same-Sex Couples File Lawsuit to Overturn Pa. Ban
By Peter Jackson | Wednesday, Sep 25, 2013 | Updated 7:28 PM

Twenty-one same-sex couples filed suit Wednesday seeking to overturn the state's gay-marriage ban on the grounds that it's unconstitutional.

The state Commonwealth Court lawsuit parallels a separate challenge to the law filed two months ago in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

All of the plaintiff couples in the state action were married with licenses from a Montgomery County court clerk who began issuing them after Democratic state Attorney General Kathleen Kane concluded the law was unconstitutional and refused to defend it in federal court.

Both of the challenges argue that the law, which defines marriage as the union of "one man and one woman,'' violates the U.S. Constitution, but Wednesday's filing claims that it also violates the state constitution.

In another case, a Commonwealth Court judge earlier this month ordered the clerk, D. Bruce Hanes, to stop issuing the licenses because he has no power to decide whether or not the law is constitutional. The county vowed to appeal the ruling.

The state lawsuit also asks the court to affirm the legality of the plaintiffs' marriages.

"To lift the cloud over their unions, plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that their marriages are valid under Pennsylvania law,'' the lawsuit says.

The challenges followed a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which restricts marriage as being between a man and a woman.

The state lawsuit named Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, Kane and state Health Secretary Michael Wolf as defendants. Nils Frederiksen, a spokesman for the governor's Office of General Counsel, said it had not received a copy of the suit and declined to comment.

The general counsel's office has hired West Chester lawyer William Lamb, a former state Supreme Court justice, to serve as lead counsel in the federal case.
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  #12  
Old 09-27-2013, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: Montgomery County To Issue Marriage Licenses To Same Sex Couples

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/201...e-and-for-all/

Federal Lawsuit Aims To Sink Pa. Gay Marriage Ban Once and For All
September 27, 2013 4:02 PM


(Actress Megan Cavanagh, left, and her wife, filmaker Anne Chamberlain, kissing at a West Hollywood bar earlier this year. They were married in 2008. File photo by Robyn Beck/ AFP/ Getty Images)

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Same-sex marriage advocates filed a federal lawsuit this week challenging Pennsylvania’s “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA).

The case attacks the Commonwealth’s refusal to recognize gay marriages performed legally in other states.

The suit for the first time raises questions about the “full faith and credit” clause of the US Constitution, which requires states to respect the judgments and orders of other states.

Plaintiffs Cara Palladino and Isabelle Barker were legally married in Massachusetts, but under Pennsylvania’s DOMA their marriage is void.

“Pennsylvania and the other states by tradition not only accept the marriages of other states, but also the marriages in other countries,” notes Malcolm Lazin , executive director of Equality Forum, which organized the lawsuit.

Lazin says equal protection, due process, and full faith and credit all prohibit Pennsylvania from forcing gay couples married in other states to pay more taxes than heterosexual couples married elsewhere.

“It just creates a real inequality that makes life very difficult and is really contrary to what marital laws are supposed to do, which is to enhance family values,” Lazin tells KYW Newsradio.

This case is one of several currently pending in challenge to Pennsylvania’s DOMA.
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  #13  
Old 10-01-2013, 11:30 AM
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Default Re: Montgomery County To Issue Marriage Licenses To Same Sex Couples

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/...225994741.html

MontCo Official Appeals Judge's Gay Marriage Ruling
Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes says he's appealing a judge's decision to stop him from issuing same-sex licenses
By Vince Lattanzio and AP | Tuesday, Oct 1, 2013 | Updated 1:10 PM


Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Haines


The Pennsylvania register of wills ordered to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples has appealed the judge's decision.

On Tuesday, Montgomery County officials filed an appeal on behalf of Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes.

The ruling has been a victory for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, who opposes gay marriage.

Montgomery County had issued 174 licenses to same-sex couples before the state Health Dept. successfully challenged the policy in court last month.

Hanes made national headlines after he began recognizing marriages between gay and lesbian coupes in July despite a 1996 state Defense of Marriage law that defines marriage between one man and one woman.

He said rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and comments made by Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane, saying she wouldn't defend the law, led him to decide the state's marriage law was unconstitutional.

The Pa. Department of Health sued Hanes saying he wasn't allowed to sidestep the law because it was his job as an official to follow the state's constitution.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini agreed with the state's argument and ordered Hanes to stop issuing the licenses.

“Even if Hanes is correct in his view that portions of the Marriage Law are unconstitutional… unless and until either the General Assembly repeals or suspends the Marriage Law provisions or a court of competent jurisdiction orders that the law is not to be obeyed or enforced, the Marriage Law in its entirety is to be obeyed and enforced by all Commonwealth public officials," Judge Pelligrini's opinion stated.

Separately, several lawsuits are underway across the state to challenge the constitutionality of the state's one-man, one-woman marriage law.

Officials have not said what the ruling means for those couples who obtained licenses.
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  #14  
Old 10-03-2013, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: Montgomery County To Issue Marriage Licenses To Same Sex Couples

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/201...ias-love-park/

State Representatives Announce Pa. Marriage Equality Bill In Philadelphia’s Love Park
October 3, 2013 11:41 AM

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Two Pennsylvania State Representatives announced a new bill calling for marriage equality on Thursday morning.

Reps. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) and Steve McCarter (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) made the announcement on the introduction of H.B. 1686, the Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Act, in the city’s Love Park.

“The majority of Pennsylvanians now support marriage equality, and that support continues to grow ,” Sims lisped. “Neighboring states, including New York, Maryland and Delaware, have all decided to be on the right side of history and have granted equal rights to their LGBT citizens. The time has come for Pennsylvania’s legislature to stand up and let our citizens know we see them as truly equal members of society and they have the right to choose whom they marry.”

“This goes beyond simply legalizing gay marriage,” McCarter said. “This is about ensuring all Pennsylvanians have equal benefits and protections before the law. Marriage equality and the benefits associated with it need to be afforded to all of our citizens, and the people of Pennsylvania support that idea. The issue is getting our fellow legislators to listen to their constituents and the voice of Pennsylvanians who are calling for this bill to proceed.”

Sims, who became the first openly gay candidate to win a seat in the legislature, and McCarter say they’ve received bipartisan support for the bill and expect it will eventually pass.
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  #15  
Old 11-23-2013, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: Montgomery County To Issue Marriage Licenses To Same Sex Couples

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/201...for-june-2014/

Federal Trial on Pa. Same-Sex Marriage Law Set For June 2014
November 22, 2013 2:53 PM


(Judge John E. Jones III. US District Court official portrait)

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A federal judge in Harrisburg says a trial will be held in the middle of next year in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Judge John Jones III says the same-sex marriage case will go to trial in June in a federal courtroom serving the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Jones denied a request by lawyers for the Corbett administration who had wanted the trial date pushed to August.

It was just a week ago that the same judge threw out motions to dismiss the case, saying in his opinion that the legal system’s view of sex and sexual identity cases has undergone a “sea change” over the past four decades.

Pennsylvania’s law limiting marriage to a man and a woman has now spawned a half-dozen legal challenges, including one resulting from the Montgomery County register of wills’ decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is reviewing a lower court’s ban on that practice.
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  #16  
Old 12-03-2013, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: Montgomery County To Issue Marriage Licenses To Same Sex Couples

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/...234094631.html

Brief Sent to Supreme Court for Bruce Hanes' Appeal on Issuing Same-Sex Marriage License
By Queen Muse | Monday, Dec 2, 2013 | Updated 4:49 PM EST

Attorneys for Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes sent a brief to the State Supreme Court today, marking the next step for Hanes’ appeal of a Commonwealth Court judge’s September decision ordering Hanes to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Hanes was sued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in September after he’d made national headlines for issuing 174 licenses to same-sex couples, despite a state law that bans the practice.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini ordered Hanes to stop issuing the licenses in September, stating that the state’s Marriage Law was to be "obeyed and enforced by all Commonwealth public officials."

In October, Montgomery County officials filed an appeal on behalf of Hanes.

Montgomery County spokesman Frank Custer said Hanes’ attorneys are "cautiously optimistic" that the appeal decision will be in Hanes’ favor.

The brief filed today is a summary of Hanes’ appeal argument, which claims Pellegrini’s order forces Hanes to violate his oath as well as both the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions.

According to Custer, today was the deadline for Montgomery County to submit it’s brief.

The Dept. of Health will have 30 days to submit their appeal and then both parties will have to wait for the court to set a hearing date.
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  #17  
Old 12-12-2013, 10:06 AM
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Default Re: Montgomery County To Issue Marriage Licenses To Same Sex Couples

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/201...lity-campaign/

Nutter Urges All Pa. Mayors To Back Marriage Equality Campaign
December 11, 2013 3:38 PM
By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The ACLU and an organization advocating marriage equality announced today they are starting a new grassroots campaign to build support for same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.

The goal of the campaign, “Why Marriage Matters Pennsylvania,” is to educate the public on marriage equality. The effort will include town hall meetings across the state, social media messaging that tells the story of gay couples, and training sessions that teach community groups how to make the case for same-sex marriage.

“A majority of Pennsylvanians do support the freedom to marry, but continuing those conversations will only diversity that support,” says Shawn Werner of Freedom to Marry (far right in photo). “We need to show that the support is truly throughout the entire commonwealth.”

Werner says that once every Pennsylvanian sees why marriage is important for all couples, including same-sex couples, the state can move closer to marriage equality.

“Marriage is something deeply personal to people throughout the commonwealth,” says Werner. “Once neighbors talk to neighbors and know who their neighbors are, it’s through personal conversations people will reflect on their convictions. And we see that it tends to change toward allowing all to marry.”


Helena Miller (second from right), Dara Raspberry (third from left), and their daughter Zivah are plaintiffs in the ACLU federal lawsuit, Whitewood v. Wolf, that challeges Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. The couple plans to tell their story.


“This is all apart of the struggle to get our marriage recognized, to make sure that Ziva grows up in a family that is just as respected as other families,” says Raspberry.

Mayor Michael Nutter called on mayors across the commonwealth to lend support.

“No matter the size of your city, your town, or burrough, stand up for equality for your constituents and every Pennsylvanian,” he said.

As of today, more than 60 organizations and community leaders have endorsed the “Why Marriage Matters Pennsylvania” campaign. For more information, go to www.whymarriagematterspa.org.
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  #18  
Old 12-12-2013, 12:33 PM
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Default Re: Montgomery County To Issue Marriage Licenses To Same Sex Couples

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/...235448841.html

Gay Marriage Activists Kick Off Pa. Campaign
Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 | Updated 3:12 PM EST

Proponents of same-sex marriage launched a campaign Wednesday to build public support for legalizing gay marriage in Pennsylvania -- the last holdout among the Northeast states.

News conferences trumpeting the Why Marriage Matters Pennsylvania campaign, sponsored by the national advocacy group Freedom to Marry and the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, were held in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

"Pennsylvania's ban on marriages for same-sex couples is harmful and indefensible. We look forward to continuing our efforts to make sure that every Pennsylvanian will be free to marry the person he or she loves," said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the state ACLjew.

Evan Wolfson, who grew up in Pennsylvania and is the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, said the campaign's goal is to encourage ``neighbor to neighbor'' conversations about why marriage is important to same-sex couples and their families.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bill Peduto spoke at the events in their cities.

"Pennsylvania, like many states, is moving toward the freedom to marry as more and more citizens and officials recognize that discrimination is not the direction of progress," said Nutter, co-chairman of the national Mayors for the Freedom to Marry campaign.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia currently recognize same-sex marriage, including all nine Northeast states except Pennsylvania, whose law defines marriage as a civil contract between ``one man and one woman.'' The law also bans recognition of same-sex marriages from other states.

The campaign is being launched as a half-dozen lawsuits challenging the Pennsylvania law progress through the federal and state courts.

A trial on the first and most sweeping lawsuit is scheduled to start June 9 in federal court in Harrisburg. The ACLU and the Philadelphia law firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller filed the constitutional challenge on behalf of 25 plaintiffs, including a widow, 11 couples and one of the couples' two teenage daughters.

In another case, a county court clerk outside Philadelphia is appealing to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court a state court's ruling that bars him from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

D. Bruce Hanes, clerk of the Montgomery County Orphan's Court, had issued licenses to 174 same-sex couples before a Commonwealth Court judge ordered him to stop in September.
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  #19  
Old 01-14-2014, 09:00 AM
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Default Re: Montgomery County To Issue Marriage Licenses To Same Sex Couples

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/201...heir-marriage/

Women Who Moved to Pa. Ask US Court To Force State To Recognize Their Marriage
January 13, 2014 1:35 PM
By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A same-sex couple is filing a legal challenge that would force Pennsylvania to recognize out-of-state gay marriages.

The case involves two women who were legally married in 2005, when they lived in Massachusetts. But when they moved to Pennsylvania in 2009, their marriage was not recognized under state law.

Now, a motion for summary judgement has been filed in US District Court in Philadelphia that would force Pennsylvania to recognize their marriage.

“The basis of the argument is, under the 14th Amendment of the United States, it violates both due process and equal protection,” says Malcolm Lazin , executive director of Equality Forum. “It violates the ‘full faith and credit’ clause of our Constitution, and also the judicially recognized right to travel.”

Lazin says this could be the next major gay marriage case to reach the US Supreme Court. And if it does, it could change gay marriage laws in the roughly thirty states that have statutes similar to Pennsylvania’s.
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  #20  
Old 01-16-2014, 09:26 AM
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Default Re: Montgomery County To Issue Marriage Licenses To Same Sex Couples

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/201...hopping-block/

Is Pennsylvania’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Next On The Chopping Block?
January 16, 2014 7:50 AM
By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - This week a federal court struck down Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage, making it the second time in a month a court overturned such a ban in a conservative state.

“It doesn’t have a direct impact, but it’s certainly evidence of the trend that’s emerging in these cases,” says Kermit Roosevelt, a professor of law at University of Pennsylvania Law School. He says the federal decisions in the Oklahoma and Utah cases strike down prohibitions on gay marriage for violating the US constitution’s equal protection guarantee.

“The argument is- [the ban draws] a distinction drawn between gay and lesbian couples and heterosexual couples that has no legitimate purpose.”

“The arguments are virtually identical,” says Vic Walczak of the ACLU Pennsylvania. The organization represents same sex couples who are challenging Pennsylvania’s ban and says the cases don’t change the odds of winning his case.

“It’s certainly welcome to see that other judges are looking at the exact same issue and ruling in favor,” he says.

Walczak says they plan to take the case to trial.
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