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BREAKING: Federal judge strikes down Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Federal District Court Judge John E. Jones has struck down Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban.

The case was filed by the ACLU on behalf of 21 Pennsylvania residents seeking the right to marry. The federal lawsuit challenged the state’s statutory ban on same-sex marriage. Pennsylvania is one of the few remaining states with no constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

The decision is here. From the intro:

We now join the twelve federal district courts across the country which, when confronted with these inequities in their own states, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage.

The judge found that “the Marriage Laws violate the principles of equal protection and are therefore unconstitutional.” The opinion notes that a separate order will be issued. There was no stay discussed in the opinion.

UPDATE: Here is the order issued along with the opinion. There is no stay.

Whitewood v. Wolf is one of a handful of challenges to the ban.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings and Jason Hewett for assisting with the uploads to Scribd

239 Comments

  • 1. nightshayde  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Two days, two states. Not a bad way to start a week!

  • 2. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:38 am

    The Conclusion:

    "Based on the foregoing, we hold that Pennsylvania’s Marriage Laws violate both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Because these laws are unconstitutional, we shall enter an order permanently enjoining their enforcement. By virtue of this ruling, same-sex couples who seek to marry in Pennsylvania may do so, and already married same-sex couples will be recognized as such in the Commonwealth.

    The issue we resolve today is a divisive one. Some of our citizens are made deeply uncomfortable by the notion of same-sex marriage. However, that same sex marriage causes discomfort in some does not make its prohibition constitutional. Nor can past tradition trump the bedrock constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. Were that not so, ours would still be a racially segregated nation according to the now rightfully discarded doctrine of "separate but equal." See Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), overruling Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896). In the sixty years since Brown was decided, "separate" has thankfully faded into history, and only "equal" remains. Similarly, in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage.

    We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."

  • 3. davep  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I didn't see any mention of a stay in this decision. Any idea if there will be one mentioned in a subsequent Order? Or is this it, and marriage can now begin immediately in Pennsylvania?

  • 4. StraightDave  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Who was it that was concerned about our loss of momentum 3 days ago?

  • 5. davep  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:44 am

    …. just saw this in the article at New Civil Rights Movement, so it SEEMS like no stay:

    "While Pennsylvania has a three-day waiting period before marriage licenses are valid, county clerks are expected to waive that requirement, as has happened in many other states."

    Can anyone confirm no stay?

  • 6. Seth from Maryland  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:44 am

    an appropiate order shall issue= im guessing that means no stay

  • 7. DrHeimlich  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:44 am

    The judge employs a wonderful rhetorical flourish using excerpts from traditional wedding vows as headers for each section of the pages that discuss the plaintiffs.

  • 8. Corey from Maryland  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:44 am

    NOM, you are start weeping now!

  • 9. Corey from Maryland  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:45 am

    NOM, you can start weeping now!

  • 10. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:45 am

    The official order (last two pages) attached to the end of the opinion mentions no stay. So there is no stay. And I checked PACER. There are no more entries / separate orders. http://coop.pamd.uscourts.gov/13-1861.pdf

  • 11. Seth from Maryland  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:45 am

    i love everything about this ruling

  • 12. Michael Grabow  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:46 am

    In the sixty years since Brown was decided, "separate" has thankfully faded into history, and only "equal" remains. Similarly, in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage.

    We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."

    Oh, man. Yes!!

  • 13. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:47 am

    At the very end it says "An appropriate order shall issue." I don't expect that order to contain a stay, but who knows. Pennsylvania clerks can issue marriage licenses right now I would think, until a final order appears.

  • 14. davep  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:48 am

    All the weep are belong to NOM : )

  • 15. Rose  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Congratulations to Pennsylvania!!!

  • 16. JakeAZ  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Who actually would/could appeal? I don't know PA law at all, but if the AG isn't defending/appealing it and if Corbett has removed himself or been removed as a defendant, are there clerks or other county officials who have standing to appeal?

  • 17. SPQRobin  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Did the Governor/Defendants request a stay? If so, would it be likely they ask the appeals court for a stay?

  • 18. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:50 am

    No, check the opinion through the link I posted in the latest comment above, to which you just replied. It has two pages of the order that is mentioned. It has no stay in it. It says defendants are permanently enjoined from enforcing the laws.

  • 19. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:51 am

    From what I understand they did not ask for a stay. The Gov is not a defendant here. I would think it'd be likely a stay would be requested, but who knows.

  • 20. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:52 am

    The defendant in the case is Michael Wolf, Secretary of the PA Dept. of Health.

  • 21. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I see, thanks. You're always so quick on everything!

  • 22. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:53 am

    MICHAEL WOLF, in his official capacity as Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Health, et al.

    Page 9-10: "Defendants Wolf and Petrille, and additionally, Pennsylvania Secretary of Revenue Dan Meuser."

  • 23. Duster  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Scottie – the order link is from the Oregon Case…

  • 24. jdw  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Good lord… that closing is staggering. It's as if he's trying to be eloquent, but can't quite hold back how annoyed / cheesed off he is by the arguments of one side, so he just decides to hit them over the head with a chair.

  • 25. Scottie Thomaston  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Thanks, don't know what happened there, will fix

  • 26. davep  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Got it – Sweet!! (the separate Order doesn't appear in the Scribd link, which is what led to the question).

  • 27. Seth from Maryland  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:56 am

    i don't know , it's strange , Cobett doesn't want to be a part of this case bcause he wants to a little bit moderate and not look like a teaparty nut so he got hisself removed from the case

  • 28. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Andy Markle ‏@AndyMarkle 1m

    Santorum recommended judge that just ruled in favor of marriage equality in PA. I wonder how he feels. #PA4M

  • 29. StraightDave  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Due Process => Strict scrutiny
    + Equal Protection, Heightened Scrutiny.
    No (visible) stay.

    That's about the whole bag, right there!
    It doesn't get any better.

  • 30. Philebrity.com » Bl&hellip  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:58 am

    […] same-sex marriage cases under consideration by courts in Pennsylvania, has been ruled upon, and that ruling is that a same-sex marriage ban is “unconstitutional.” The conclusion of the decision, which can be read in full here (and was written by Judge John E. […]

  • 31. Michael Grabow  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:58 am

    US Sumpreme Court…?
    http://mainlinemedianews.com/articles/2014/05/20/

  • 32. KarlS  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I wonder if this might put us over the 50% figure as far as population in SSM legal states. I know PA is one of the top 4 or 5 in the country. WooHoo!

  • 33. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Read 43.5% on JMG. Let's hope it sticks, whatever the number.

  • 34. Scottie Thomaston  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Should be correct now.

  • 35. BenjiCA  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:59 am

    As with the Oregon case, I love these conclusions and their rallying cry. "It is time to discard them into the ash heap of history." Yes.

    But I don't want to forget this history. It is our legacy to future generations. So yes, toss these laws into the ash heap; and keep the memory of the pain and suffering caused by these laws to not be forgotten, so as never to be repeated.

  • 36. Dann  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Perhaps NOM is trying to get someone to rent them a bus so the can all head over to some church and pray! LOL What a happy day it is :)

  • 37. StraightDave  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    The bus co should demand cash up front.

  • 38. Rick  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Just reported: "Before the ruling came down, the Dauphin County Register of Wills Office said it was prepared to follow the law. However, officials clarified that they would have to review the ruling to make sure they understood it correctly before proceeding." Ah, what's to understand?

  • 39. StraightDave  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    At this point, they might all just want to wash their hands of this and move on. Defending the indefensible is starting to take on a bad stench.

  • 40. sam  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Clearly Judge Jones just got a promotion

  • 41. Dr. Z  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    What a fantastic month May has been! AR, ID, OR, PA…and good news for the UT couples. Did I miss any? It's getting harder to stay current.

  • 42. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I'm hoping Bri Bri's crying again somewhere after failing "God" yet again.

  • 43. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Preliminary injunction in IN for one couple, while still significant, is a notch below the fantastic four states you mention :)

  • 44. Dr. Z  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Also a win in AK. Wonder if we'll win our first appelate case before the end of the month?

  • 45. Lee  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Dedicated to NOM: http://youtu.be/PhaihBGD2tc

  • 46. KarlS  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Like he just fell into a bucket of santorum, I imagine.

    ROTFLMAO

  • 47. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    The AK case wasn't a marriage equality case, and moreover, no federal claims were raised. It was hyped up beyond proportion by Matt in one of his newscasts.

    I doubt we'll hear from the 10th or the 4th in the next ten days. I think June is the most probably month for those decisions. Then again, who knows? :)

  • 48. Scottie Thomaston  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    "[Rick] Santorum said he was excited about Jones' federal judgeship because Jones "understands our values and traditions."
    "Too often we forget about having judges who understand our values and our traditions," he said." http://articles.mcall.com/2002-09-28/news/3413958

  • 49. Michael Grabow  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    That is correct. Just over 61% including the seven states under appeal.

  • 50. Tinmanic  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Gov. Corbett has said he would appeal. Wonder if he actually will. https://twitter.com/freedomtomarry/status/4688255

  • 51. Michael Grabow  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Oh mama, now THAT would be exciting!

  • 52. jdw  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    HOLY COW!!!! :)

  • 53. Ranjit  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Can he appeal ? It appears he is no longer a defendant in the case.

  • 54. Seth from Maryland  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    how can he? he's not the legal defendent anymore therefor he gave up his ability to appeal

  • 55. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Rick Santorum may be one of the best things that ever happened to our movement, in so many ways.

  • 56. sfbob  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    "It says gay and lesbian couples get to marry. Which part of this is unclear?" :)

  • 57. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    He can't directly. He would recommend that the state defendants appeal, namely Wolf et al. and I suspect they will heed his "recommendation".

  • 58. StraightDave  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I couldn't agree more. You tell 'em, Ricky-boy!

  • 59. Corey from Maryland  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    NOM issued its usual condemnation but Brian Williams is pleading that Tom Corbett, the teabagging GOP Pennsylvania governor, move immediately to appeal the decision. Will there be more drama out of PA?

  • 60. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    So what's up in Oregon today? Are all counties issuing licenses?

  • 61. Lee  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Good catch!

  • 62. sfbob  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Now that the order has been posted, Scribd is down for maintenance. :(

  • 63. F Young  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    No, Wikipedia says 43.5% at the bottom of the table:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in

  • 64. jdw  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    It will likely be stayed, so the 43.5% is less important that what this will likely be:

    39.5% States (18) & DC with same-sex marriage
    21.7% States (8) with stayed rulings for same-sex marriage
    61.2% Total (26+DC)

    So PA takes up over 60% of the population and over 50% of the states.

    17,300,789 more to get to 2/3rds of the country.

  • 65. sae  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Maybe a mini van that seats 7. Definitely not a bus!

  • 66. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    No worries, check http://coop.pamd.uscourts.gov/13-1861.pdf

  • 67. davep  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    That is awesome!!! : )

  • 68. JakeAZ  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Yes, Bruno, Ragavendran et al, but is there any indication these are passionate defendants who will appeal?

  • 69. nightshayde  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Brian Williams or Brian Brown?

  • 70. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    The Governor has apparently said he would appeal (https://twitter.com/freedomtomarry/status/4688255… thanks, Tinmanic) I think it means he will ask one of these State officials to appeal. Let's see if they entertain him (and us) by trying.

  • 71. Corey from Maryland  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    My bad, I meant that asshole, Brian Brown

  • 72. jdw  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    That's pretty awesome. :)

  • 73. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    The indications are that they are at Corbett's beck & call, as they are part of his administration.

  • 74. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Cool video! How about a "gaythering supercell": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoO89cqDgJU

  • 75. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I wish.

  • 76. Ryan K.  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    June seems to be our month… Besides all of the PRIDE happenings, it is when both Windsor and Lawrence were decided by SCOTUS. I'd take a few appellate decisions in that month.

  • 77. Rick  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I just called, and Lancaster County (PA) will not issue same-sex marriage licenses today. They told me that the Register of Wills needs to read the ruling first and then decide what to do. They suggested I check back tomorrow. By denying a Federal court order, aren't these folks in contempt of court?

  • 78. jdw  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Hard to keep from mistaking asshole Brians. 😉

  • 79. Scottie Thomaston  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    If I were you I would contact the ACLU of Pennsylvania and report this. That's a bit odd.

  • 80. sae  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Try Norristown and our favorite clerk Bruce Hanes (he issued them last summer) – I bet they will start ASAP

  • 81. fiona64  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Too bad for them that their favored bus driver saw the light and left them in the lurch (hi, Louis!).

  • 82. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    From the ACLU website: http://www.aclupa.org/our-work/legal/legaldocket/

    When can my same-sex partner and I get married?
    You can apply for a marriage license immediately.

    It also says that the 3-day waiting period can only be waived by a judge.

  • 83. davep  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I noticed one thing in this ruling that is significantly different from many of the earlier rulings, I assume because it is based on Heightened Scrutiny rather than mere Rational Basis review – Near the end, when it gets to the part where it lists the defendants arguments (same tired old stuff about responsible procreation, child rearing, tradition, economic protection) it doesn't even go into a detailed attempt to logically debunk each one. It simply points out that the state has failed to "explain the relationship between the classification and the governmental objective". And that pretty much settles the case, right there. Nice and simple.

  • 84. Steve  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    From the Department of Redundancy Department

  • 85. sae  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    And thank to our Quaker heritage you can get a Self-Uniting license in PA.

  • 86. Quest  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    If the leaders of Christian Inc. go to prison that would be just.

  • 87. sam  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    "Indeed, it is unsurprising that Defendants muster no argument engaging the strictures of heightened scrutiny, as we, too, are unable to fathom an ingenuous defense saving the Marriage Laws from being invalidated under this more-searching standard."

    Burn

  • 88. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Hmmm.. If that's the case, and PA is required to recognize such a marriage, maybe that's a nice way around the 3-day waiting period!

  • 89. Michael Grabow  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Wow.

  • 90. StraightDave  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I think it was in Romer that Kennedy said that even under rational basis the court insists on knowing what that relationship is. Otherwise, how could they judge whether it was rational. You can't just toss out any random words and hope they stick. At minimum, an intellectually honest argument is needed. Jones apparently decided the state's case was so weak it wasn't worth wasting any ink on.

  • 91. Craig  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Press release by the PA AG http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/press.aspx?id=7771

    I hear nothing immediate from the Governor, or the Defendants. They knew since yesterday the ruling was coming and the ruling would have been a shock if it went the other way. An appeal may come; a stay may come in time but it's not in the immediate. If the state asked for a stay they'd surely get one given previous cases. They do not seem in too much of a hurry to get one however.

    Having said that to get a stay they would need to ask at the Third Circuit where PA would be the only state without marriage equality if a stay was granted. It might be a grueling process which might be damaging politically.

  • 92. Rick  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I did. And it is a bit odd, but not surprising. I'm sure many conservative counties in PA will drag their feet on this. Just to clarify, I was told that a same-sex couple could not apply for a marriage license today in Lancaster County.

  • 93. Michael Grabow  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    They must have some awfully slow readers there.

  • 94. StraightDave  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    My advice to Gov Corbett and his posse. Let it go!

    [youtube L0MK7qz13bU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0MK7qz13bU youtube]

  • 95. StevenJ  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I'm going to print this conclusion and frame it for my wall. Truly it is art in its written form.

  • 96. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    More importantly, those Lancaster County slow readers are beholden to some of the most batty religious persuasions found in America.

  • 97. davep  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Yup, that true, there is that pesky word "rational" in there. Otherwise you could make a law denying equal protection to any group of people in any number of ways and the defendants could simply claim something random like 'maybe it will help prevent Martian attacks in the future', or 'we think it will prevent gout and protect our watershed' or whatever.

  • 98. Rose  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    What about the marriages that took place in PA by the Clerk…….are those marriage now legal?

  • 99. palerobber  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    another marriage ban goes down? it must be any day of the week / any state in the union.

  • 100. StraightDave  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    motorcycle with sidecar?

  • 101. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Not determined yet, that's in a separate case.

  • 102. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I would guess that they are still in limbo, pending the outcome of the Bruce Hanes case before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. But they don't have to wait – I guess they could get "remarried" now – if they are allowed to do so. What a mess for those couples! I'm waiting for an article to discuss those marriages, but none so far.

  • 103. davep  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    So…. It's now 4:30 PM in PA, and I don't think we have yet heard about any marriages actually happening today, just the report above about Lancaster County saying they are waiting until tomorrow….

    Anybody on the ground in PA that can report about this? What's the situation at the Court Houses and City Halls?

  • 104. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Philadelphia is staying open til 5:30 for marriage licenses. However, I'm not sure anyone will get a judge to waive the waiting period for a ceremony today.

  • 105. TKinSC  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Is this really happening? Did the judge give his final vote?

  • 106. Mike in Baltimore  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I would not like to have the contract for cleaning services at NOM HQ right now. Imagine all the heads that exploded today!

  • 107. davep  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I know that it only took a few extra bucks to get the waiting period 'waived' in Oregon, but does anybody know what the policy is in PA for having that waiting period waived?

  • 108. Chuck from PA  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Congratulations to all my friends in my home state, many of whom took advantage of the short window provided by our heroic Register of Wills in Montgomery County. And best wishes to everyone working for ME in the remaining 31 states without ME. Now if only I could find a boyfriend.

  • 109. sam  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Licences are being issued in Philly, seen some comments that marriages are happening but nothing seems substantial and that could be incorrect,

  • 110. brandall  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 4:30 pm | Updated: 4:35 pm, Tue May 20, 2014.
    By Margaret Gibbons Staff writer

    Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes, through the county solicitor’s office, Tuesday afternoon filed an emergency application with the state Supreme Court to lift a lower court order barring him from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    The emergency application comes in the wake of a federal court ruling earlier Tuesday overturning Pennsylvania’s ban on same sex marriages.

    “It seems rather ironic that now every clerk in the state can begin issuing those licenses except for Bruce Hanes,” said county communications director Frank Custer.

    Custer noted that Philadelphia Register of Wills Ron Donatucci already has announced that he will keep his office opened Tuesday night to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses to gay couples.
    Hanes last July became the first and only official in Pennsylvania to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. His office had issued 174 same-sex licenses prior to state Superior Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini, responding to a petition from the state, on Sept. 12 handing down an order barring Hanes from issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

    Hanes said he took an oath of office to uphold both the U.S. and Pennsylvania constitutions, both of which include equal protection provisions. The state law limiting marriage to a man and a woman violates those provisions and, therefore, is unconstitutional, according to Hanes.
    Siding with the state, Pellegrini ruled that Hanes has no authority to make unilateral decisions on what laws he will uphold.

    Hanes has appealed that ruling to the state Supreme Court.
    http://www.theintell.com/news/local/montgomery-co

  • 111. sam  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    According to the ACLU you need a judge to waive the waiting period in Pennsylvania
    http://www.aclupa.org/our-work/legal/legaldocket/

  • 112. KarlS  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Success breeds impatience. That's one of my original (I think) axioms. :-)

  • 113. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    It has to go before a judge, who can waive it if there is some sort of emergency circumstance. I wonder if a pending stay of Judge Jones' ruling would count as an immediate emergency.

  • 114. davep  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I think it's indicative of just how unsurprising and 'un-newsworthy' these rulings have become that we are not being inundated with reports from every corner of the media about this, and we have to put in some effort to try to seek out this information. I didn't even see any mention of the Oregon decision in any of the evening news broadcasts yesterday, and that's in the SF bay area. While a bit frustrating, it actually means something quite positive, IMO. It's becoming viewed as quite common and just not a big deal.

  • 115. AndyinCA  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    61.2% Total (26+DC)

    ooh i like the sound of that: it gives ME states a House & Senate majority too :)

  • 116. brandall  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    AP Full article here: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/0

    [at the end of the article]:

    The governor did not immediately announce Tuesday whether he would appeal.

    "The opinion's just been published. We're currently reviewing all the legal issues presented in the opinion," said Joshua Maus, a spokesman for Corbett's legal office.

  • 117. davep  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks!!

  • 118. Retired_Lawyer  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    "We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history." The last line of the opinion by Judge John E. Jones III. There are many highlights.

    As to marriage as a fundamental right, "we specifically hold that the fundamental right to marry as protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution encompasses the right to marry a person of one's own sex." at 21.

    Non-recognition of marriages performed elsewhere is also a denial of the same "fundamental liberty interest" as the right to marry (above) and is thus also a denial of due process. at 22.

    At 24 n.8, the Judge observes that a , "fundamental right has been infringed and strict scrutiny would apply where government discriminates among people as to the exercise of that right." But, in the main text, he goes on to do a "scrutiny" analysis anyway–a sort of belt and suspenders approach, because strict scrutiny has already been triggered in the footnote. In some ways, that is the most interesting part of a fascinating opinion. "Indeed, in the tea leaves of Windsor and its forbears we apprehend the application of scrutiny more exacting than deferential." at 25. He also cites the approach taken by the Ninth Circuit ("what the Court actually did" in Windsor) in SmithKline Beecham v. Abbot Labs., 740 F.3d 471 (9th Cir. 2014).
    He then goes through all four of the classic criteria, and determines that all of them "weigh in favor of a finding that gays and lesbians compose a class that is subject to heightened scrutiny." at 35-36. I cannot recall another case in which a full four factor examination was done.

  • 119. Michael Grabow  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Joe my god reported that licenses have been issued!

    http://joemygod.blogspot.com/

  • 120. AndyinCA  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I think it's because Defendants didn't further any arguments in their briefing on this stuff. they just put it out there. Their arguments were centered on saying we should only get rational-basis and that the burden of proof was on us.

  • 121. SeattleRobin  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    No. The judge didn't have his voter I.D. card. All these posts and links are figments of your imagination.

  • 122. TKinSC  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    But I thought the voter ID law was tossed in PA. So confused now.

  • 123. Big Rick  |  May 20, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Ironically, Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes is the only one in Pennsylvania who cannot at the present time issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He's under a lower court order barring him from doing so. He has filed an emergency application to the state Supreme Court to lift the lower court ruling.
    http://www.theintell.com/news/local/montgomery-co

  • 124. brandall  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Philadelphia's SSMs started!
    On their marriage license, they signed their names Ruthellen Landau and Kerry E. Smith.

    The two women made history Tuesday afternoon as they obtained a marriage license at City Hall after a federal judge struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage.

    They were the first couple to seek a marriage license in Philadelphia. Whether they were the first in the state was not immediately known.

    "It's an amazing feeling," said Smith, 42, a lawyer at Community Legal Services.
    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/201405

  • 125. StraightDave  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    My 4 yr old grand-daughter keeps sailing thru the kitchen singing this but I had never paid attention to the words until now. Seem very appropriate…

    Conceal, don't feel.
    Don't let them know.
    Well now they know.
    Let it go!
    Let it go!
    Can't hold it back anymore.
    Let it go!
    Let it go!
    Turn away and slam the door.
    I don't care what they're going to say.
    Let the storm rage on.

    It's funny how some distance makes everything seem small.
    And the fears that once controlled me
    Can't get to me at all.
    It's time to see what I can do
    To test the limits and break through.
    No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
    I'm free!
    Let it go!
    Let it go!

  • 126. Craig  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Cases now coming thick and fast. It is genuinely difficult to hold them in your head. Seems Oregon will not be appealed as there is no-one with standing to do so. Not yet clear if PA will be appealed. Courts may take a dim view of any request for an emergency stay if they couldn't ask for it straight away (one suspects that their hearts weren't really in it at the end). Then Arkansas, the ruling in Utah and Idaho. I think these have occurred within the same week but my mind is a blur.

  • 127. GregG  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    It was only in state court, but I seem to recall that the Iowa case did a full four factor examination.

  • 128. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Bit of news from Sixth Circuit. They've sua sponte consolidated the two Ohio appeals – Obergefell and Henry. This has the effect of delaying the former and expediting the latter. While briefing in Obergefell was completed last week, an expedited briefing schedule in Henry accompanied today's order. Appellant brief due June 10, Appellee brief due July 8, and reply brief due July 15. This expedited schedule is in line with my guess that all the four appeals in the Sixth Circuit will be scheduled for oral argument during the Court's July 28 – August 8 session.

  • 129. StraightDave  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    not to mention the shitting of pants

  • 130. Lance  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Wonderful. Thanks for the update Ragavendran. I love them. I've got some I'm going to try to send you soon that are showing on the Lambda site in the "In State Courts" site. That way you can add them to your calendar if you want.
    http://www.lambdalegal.org/pending-marriage-equal

  • 131. JayJonson  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I love the fact that Judge Jones specifically calls out the Pennsylvania state legislature for failing to protect its gay and lesbian citizens and using their actions as evidence of continuing discrimination.

  • 132. David ROH  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    The order has been issued; the order does not include a stay.

  • 133. Chuck from PA  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    He's still a hero in the eyes of many.

  • 134. JayJonson  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Pennsylvania apparently has a billion dollar deficit. Just last week, the Governor was severely criticized by the state auditor for wasting money on frivolous lawsuits defending unconstitutional laws passed by the legislature.

  • 135. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks Lance, but I think my calendar is already cluttered with all the federal cases. I wish I could accommodate the numerous state cases, but Pat's calendar is a much better format for that. Feel free to suggest updates there:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsGe

    The next State Court case to watch for seems to be Brinkman from Colorado where a summary judgment hearing is set for June 12.

  • 136. JayJonson  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I am glad that Jones recognized that sexual orientation merits heightened scrutiny, but I also wish he would have followed the many other judges who pointed out explicitly that these marriage bans fail to satisfy even rational basis.

  • 137. Pat  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    "Two days, two states. Not a bad way to start a week! "
    Yay! Which state shall we get tomorrow?

  • 138. Norman  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Besides Colorado, what’s the most likely state ban to fall next, and where’s the smart money on which appeals circuit to weigh in first and when?

  • 139. KarlS  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    When it stops being 'news', it won't be news any more. :-)

  • 140. KarlS  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Sidecar with no motorcycle.

    heh

  • 141. Lance  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Do you think the judge will still rule on the Palladino Vs. Corbett case that was argued last week (out of state marriages), or does that become moot since this case addressed that?

  • 142. Matt  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Yo Adrian! We did it!!!

  • 143. Big Rick  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    At some point, the rational basis analysis becomes a pointless exercise, particularly since it has already been done by nearly all judges who have struck down state marriage bans since Windsor. That point is reached conclusively when the judge determines that strict or heightened scrutiny is required.

    It's time for courts to acknowledge the analysis in Windsor, and simply apply it.

    Well, that's my opinion anyway.

  • 144. mnbob  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    So when marriage equality is restored in a majority of all states (or places where a majority of americans reside) will they stop issuing stays because marriage equality is the majority opinion of the majority states?

    I'm just tired of the denial of rights

  • 145. Pat  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Sorry guys, I've only just updated the spreadsheet. I wish I could be as quick as Wikipedia! (with the volume of comments lately, due both to the exciting developments and the trolling, it's been hard to keep up!)
    Thanks Lance for the Lambda Legal link: I'll check each case carefully next time they have an update (their latest update, May 13, now seems like ages ago, given the pace at which things are evolving!)
    Ragavendran, thanks for mentioning the Brinkman case, I added it as well. As usual, feel free to update the spreadsheet yourself directly if I'm missing important stuff.
    It's refreshing to finally have a long comment thread which is actually devoted to interesting stuff!

  • 146. Big Rick  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    I think the stays will continue to be granted whenever the State defendants request them until the Supreme Court decides the issue once and for all.

  • 147. Big Rick  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    And I would like to add that I'm tired of the denial of rights too. My husband and I married in New Mexico, but we live in Texas. It'll be a happy day when we know that our marriage is recognized in Texas and in every other state of the union.

  • 148. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    That judge has options – the same as the judge in the other Texas case did when Judge Garcia granted a preliminary injunction in De Leon. Palladino wouldn't definitively be rendered moot unless 30 days pass without an appeal. In all other scenarios, she could decide to issue her own ruling in the coming days, or, if there is an appeal of today's ruling, she could ask the parties for briefs (or the parties might themselves file briefs) on whether she should stay the proceedings and wait for the Third Circuit to rule. She could also do nothing and sit on it until the earlier of 30 days or the filing of an appeal to determine how to proceed.

  • 149. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    That's what SCOTUS wants. But I find it interesting that the Pennsylvania and Idaho district court judges didn't impose stays. It just feels like the groundswell for rights to be affirmed immediately is taking hold. I wonder if SCOTUS might loosen their standards sooner than we think.

  • 150. Corey from Maryland  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    SeattleRobin, why are you wasting your time responding to this fool?

  • 151. Zack12  |  May 20, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    With Brinkman, it might be a moot point if the 10th delivers their ruling before then.

  • 152. Naomi  |  May 20, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    This made me so happy I literally wandered around my work's parking lot sobbing and laughing during my lunch break. You don't know the weight you're carrying until it's lifted. We've got a DC license, so it's done now. We're safe. I hope everyone will be as safe as we are (if not more so) soon.

  • 153. Mike in Baltimore  |  May 20, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I think the "pants thing" happened a few months ago when they heard which judge would receive and hear the case, although I wouldn't bet against some pants needing dry cleaning after today's decision.

    VBG

  • 154. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    True, but that's only going to happen if both UT and OK accept the decision and don't appeal – highly unlikely. As long as the decision isn't final, state court cases will proceed in parallel with the federal cases. It'll be interesting to see what happens when Brinkman moves to the Colorado Supreme Court. If SCOTUS has granted cert to any cases bythat time, the Court (and all other courts) could just stay the proceedings until SCOTUS rules.

  • 155. Corey from Seattle  |  May 20, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    When SCOTUS issued the stay in the Utah case, it was stayed until a federal appeals court could rule on it. The Tenth should count as such. After the Tenth rules, then presumably either the stay is lifted or the ban reinstated.

    At least, that's how I understand it. SCOTUS didn't say "it is stated until WE rule on it."

  • 156. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    You are correct. The stay is in effect "pending final disposition of the appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit," according to the order. But the Tenth might decide to issue a new stay pending appeal to SCOTUS. If they boldly deny that, then Utah will have to go beg SCOTUS again for a new stay. Then it'll get interesting. If they grant a stay, then they signal that they are likely to take up the case during their next term!

  • 157. Rich  |  May 20, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Naomi, I do know what that weight feels like. We got our weight lifted in Maine. I am with you in spirit and my arms are around you. It's real, it's happening and you can now celebrate as equality comes to your state. Now, we all join together to fight for this same feeling of relief for all our brothers and sisters in those states still on the fence.

  • 158. Kevin  |  May 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Unless and until a stay is in place, the case is mooted in the Eastern District because there is no longer any live Article III "case or controversy."

  • 159. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    There's some serious competition for NOM from this organization:
    http://nationalmarriageorganization.com

  • 160. jpmassar  |  May 20, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    Because the PA Department of Health has as one of its most important concerns that same-sex couples not be allowed to marry, otherwise horrible contagion will affect Pennslyvania and plagues of locusts are even now gathering to descend upon the state.

  • 161. nightshayde  |  May 20, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Surprise me? 😉

  • 162. DaveM  |  May 20, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Ragavendran, thanks for the update! Let me know if you want to attend orals…

  • 163. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    You're welcome! I'd love to take a trip to Cincinnati for the four oral arguments. How fun to witness the anti-gay getting throttled not once, twice or thrice, but four times in a short period! It'll be like a carnival. Unfortunately, if they indeed schedule oral arguments during this period, then I'll be in India at that time, applying for my H1-B visa for continued employment here in the US :(

  • 164. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    I wouldn't totally trust that signal. As we know, the Windsor wing of SCOTUS wants to delay delay delay marriage equality as much as they can. A stay and then a denial of cert months later would not surprise me one bit.

  • 165. Lee  |  May 20, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    This video is an excellent watch, thanks for the link to that site Ragavendran. After we win the ME battle, I think the next round of discrimination towards us will be under the cloak of religious liberty/freedom, maybe “child protection” adoption laws.

    [youtube A0dKMhYSX20 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0dKMhYSX20 youtube]

  • 166. Rick  |  May 20, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    More stalling in Lancaster County:

    Erica Millner, who’s been in a relationship with Mai Orama Muniz for 17 years, called the ruling awesome. But she was also frustrated; the couple had hoped to get a marriage license here Tuesday and had a judge lined up to perform a marriage ceremony.

    But she said she called Lancaster County’s Register of Wills — the office that issues marriage licenses — but was told the office had to review the ruling and that the office’s paperwork only contained the words “husband” and “wife.”

    Register of Wills Mary Ann Gerber said she wants to read the ruling Wednesday morning, and then confer with an attorney for the state Registers of Wills and Clerks of Orphans Court Association, along with Lancaster County Orphans Court Judge Jay Hoberg.

    "If the law does in fact say that I should issue same-sex marriage licenses, then that's what I will do," Gerber said. But Gerber cautioned she fears a 'yo-yo effect.' "If I issue licenses, and then there's an appeal that reverses this decision, then those licenses will be void," she said. "I don't think anyone wants to go through that."

    Gerber said she had instructed her staff to tell anyone inquiring about same-sex marriage licenses to "call back on Wednesday." The office received about 15 calls, she said.
    http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/lancaster-s

  • 167. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Perhaps, but on this I'd disagree with you – I'd be surprised if that happened. It takes five to grant a stay and six to deny cert. Granting a stay and then denying cert would be a cruel thing to do and I don't think there are five cruel justices on the Supreme Court. Yes, they want to delay marriage equality, but not for no reason! If they know at the time of deciding on the stay that they don't want to take the appeal, it would be cruel of them to grant the stay anyway, just because. I don't think the Windsor Court would do that.

  • 168. Bruno71  |  May 20, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    How about granting a stay which stopped marriages in Utah and put the existing ones in doubt? I'd call that pretty cruel. These justices seem more concerned with the bigger picture than the situation on the ground.

  • 169. BG1980  |  May 20, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Also, it seems that the Scalia wing of the Court would have an interest in granting a stay to hold out as long as possible. The vote for a stay could be unanimous, with justices voting for the same outcome for different reasons.

  • 170. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Well, I'd say it's a notch below cruel, because they knew when granting the stay that the Tenth Circuit was taking up the appeal on an expedited schedule and will rule on it. (Whereas if the justices know they don't want to take up the appeal, they have no reason to stay.) Also, at that time, only two federal district courts had ruled against state marriage bans (CA, UT) whereas at least two federal district courts and a federal appeals court had upheld state gay marriage bans (HI, NV, Eighth). To clarify, I'm not saying I agree with their reasons, and I'm not arguing that they were right in issuing the stay – I'm just trying to point out the differences in the two situations. Disclaimer: all of this is speculation, so its just my educated guess in reading the tea leaves. I'd be an arrogant ass if I claimed to be able to read the justices' minds based on their actions so far :)

  • 171. Mike in Baltimore  |  May 20, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Considering that OK does not want to expend funds to protect school children and school staff in Tornado Alley, but they are willing to expend funds to fight Marriage Equality, it would not surprise me at all if there is an appeal to SCOTUS from OK. In fact, hasn't Mary Fallon (Governor, OK, R) already stated that the state will appeal until the state wins, or all appeals have been exhausted?

  • 172. Big Rick  |  May 20, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Why would any issued licenses be void if there is a hold to the order pending appeal? On hold, maybe. Any solemnized marriages completed during the interim would hopefully be validated eventually, as it appears they will be in Utah.

  • 173. Big Rick  |  May 20, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    I meant, a stay to the order pending appeal.

  • 174. grod  |  May 20, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    To give Lancaster a demographic context, the county has the sixth highest population of the 67 counties.

  • 175. grod  |  May 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    20/05/14 Dozens wed – County offices in Philadelphia stayed open late to handle marriage applications, while officials in Pittsburgh,closed for election day were accepting them online.
    Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/05/20/3873420/do

  • 176. DrPatrick1  |  May 20, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    This remains an unanswered question. There is no precedent for legally issued marriage licenses being issued, certified, and then as a class nullified. In CA, the 2004 marriages were nullified as they were found to have been illegally issued. The court found that the clerks involved were not under any order to issue any license, and that in doing so, it was in violation of then CA law. Here there is a court order, so the issuing of the license would appear to be legal. I cannot say definitively, because I am not aware of any on point cases that have already been decided.

    In this specific case, we have never had a district court ruling granting marriage equality AND have licenses issued under that ruling, and have that ruling later reversed. In ?2006? Bruning did reverse a favorable district court ruling, but as far as I know, no licenses were ever issued.

    Perhaps one of our fellow commenters is more knowledgable than I here (not a difficult task I assure you).

  • 177. Ragavendran  |  May 20, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks for sharing! The pictures say it all :)

  • 178. grod  |  May 20, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Beside the Counties of Philadelphia and Erie issuing licenses, Allegheny and Cumberland are accepting applications on line. Dauphin will issue licenses starting at 8:00am Wednesday.

  • 179. davep  |  May 20, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Yes, those are great!

  • 180. Michael Grabow  |  May 20, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Governor Corbett
    http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2014/05/pa-gov-tom-c

  • 181. Rakihi  |  May 20, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Wisconsin AG, J.B. Van Hollen, admits state's gay marriage ban likely to be overturned; will defend it anyway.
    http://chippewa.com/news/local/writers/jack_crave

  • 182. ebohlman  |  May 20, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    This is one big problem with the SCOTUS taking a case in the 2014-2015 term: if they do, everything grinds to a halt until June 2015. If the ruling is unfavorable or limited, that's an awful lot of momentum lost. If they don't take a case until the 2015-2016 term, a lot more case law will have been established.

  • 183. Big Rick  |  May 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Wouldn't lower courts continue to hear cases and issue their rulings, regardless? There are still quite a few states where bans have not yet been overturned.

  • 184. Dr. Z  |  May 20, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    She would request the funds to dig a moat around the entire state if she thought it would keep teh gayz out, and the Oklahoma legislature would pass the budget. Meanwhile, the State Capitol building is quite literally falling down from disrepair.

  • 185. DrPatrick1  |  May 20, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Case law, as far as SCOTUS is concerned, is not established by district courts. SCOTUS already put the brakes on, with their stay in Utah, which every appellate circuit since has done. The only opportunity we have for progress is 1) we win in a circuit court and SCOTUS refuses a stay whether or not they grant cert to an appeal. 2) a state like OR, this might be NV too from my understanding of the case, where there are no official defenders willing to appeal. 3) a SCOTUS win. Those states who will willingly progress along the path of equality have done so. Those states where there is a reasonable chance to avoid an appeal have all had their district court rulings. (Nevada is a special case where procedures apparently unique to the 9th circuit continue to hold up a case where the official appellants are trying to withdraw. Please someone correct me here if I am mistaken). I could see the district court rulings continue, but I'm not sure we will continue our current winning streak through all possible cases. Certainly we should, but this is not yet settled law. There is always a possibility of a rogue judge with a unique interpretation.

    The only state I see us getting without SCOTUS intervention at this point is….WY.

    Yes, WY. The state has a libertarian brand of conservatism that suits our purposes nicely. There is no constitutional amendment standing in the way of a favorable ruling based solely on the state constitution. As such, progress there in state courts would not be subject to SCOTUS's review. I am not an expert on the WY constitution, but I suspect there is some justification for my optimism in that reddest of red states.

    Otherwise, we need SCOTUS to act, simply for us to move forward.

  • 186. SeattleRobin  |  May 20, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Because I was in a sarcastic mood. Making posts like yours still feeds his trolling you know. So what's your excuse?

  • 187. Margo Schulter  |  May 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Dr.Patrick1, I think that we might well win the majority of circuits without SCOTUS intervention, because the SCOTUS intervention in Windsor has evidently sufficed for us to carry the day. That means that “letting it perc” until the 2015 term could be one strategy for SCOTUS. It lets the change happen in more of a piecemeal fashion, but still quite rapidly. Come 2016, Justice Kennedy and colleagues will be in the position of ratifying what will have become mostly a fait accompli under this scenario.

    Let’s not count our circuits before they’ve decided: but the Third, Fourth, Sixth, Ninth, and Tenth could all be in play (the Third if there’s an appeal from Pennsylvania). “Waiting until all or as many as possible of the circuits weigh in” could appeal the judicious thing to do, in order to make the most informed decision as well as from the view of letting the process happen step-by-step, but still purposefully.

  • 188. sfbob  |  May 20, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    "Their" messaging is far more transparent than NOM's. And a whole lot funnier. Nicely done. I think I met Rob Tisinai and his partner Will on last year's AIDS/LifeCycle.

  • 189. Craig  |  May 20, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    We have now reached a point where moderation of sorts is imperative.

  • 190. Benny  |  May 21, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Yes, one is an obsessed sociopath. Why allow that to propagate here?

  • 191. Benny  |  May 21, 2014 at 12:39 am

    You are not okay in the mind, are obsessed, not normal, have lost touch with reality, are a deviant, and have a neurosis.

    This may help you. We will pray for you and hold you in our thoughts.
    http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/obsessiv

  • 192. M.-  |  May 21, 2014 at 2:12 am

    In your stupid, non-sensical list you forgot Judge Arenda Wright Allen and Judge Jhon Heyburn. 😉

  • 193. Eric Koszyk  |  May 21, 2014 at 4:12 am

    Maybe if we all ask for moderation on their Facebook page? The people who run this site seem to ignore the emails we send them.
    https://www.facebook.com/EqualityOnTrial

  • 194. grod  |  May 21, 2014 at 4:17 am

    Interesting analysis why equality is unstoppable. Insightful. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/20/

  • 195. Guest  |  May 21, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Moderators, can you please stop this kind of abusive comments already??!

  • 196. Retired_Lawyer  |  May 21, 2014 at 4:48 am

    You are absolutely right. A full four factor analysis was performed in Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W. 2d 862 (Iowa 2009). The Iowa Supreme Court observed that it had not had occasion to develop a separate jurisprudence for the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution, and followed the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court with respect to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The four factor scrutiny evaluation performed is very similar to that undertaken by Judge Jones.

  • 197. Retired_Lawyer  |  May 21, 2014 at 5:03 am

    Palladino v. Corbett is in the Eastern District. Judge Jones and Whitewood v. Wolf are in Pennsylvania's Middle District. One district does not control another. Mootness is not an issue yet, as Ragavendran observes.

  • 198. W. Kevin Vicklund  |  May 21, 2014 at 5:08 am

    Yep, that's our Judge Jones. While I am glad this was done quickly (but in his usual thorough manner), there's a small part of me that is a little disappointed the state didn't call on expert witnesses. His takedown of Regnerus et al. would have been truly epic – the Michigan judge was much kinder than Jones would have been. He does not suffer fools gladly. If you ever get a chance to read his decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover (the Intelligent Design case), be sure to prepare popcorn.

  • 199. grod  |  May 21, 2014 at 5:11 am

    In Philadelphia, 12 female couples and 6 male couples had obtained licenses by the time the office closed at 5:30 p.m said Guy Sabelli, the city's marriage license supervisor.

  • 200. Retired_Lawyer  |  May 21, 2014 at 5:23 am

    Yes, grod, that is a good analysis. Thanks for bringing it to peoples' attention.

  • 201. StraightDave  |  May 21, 2014 at 5:39 am

    It is generally fair and ends up at the right place. But the author makes a common mistake – "Windsor held that states can decide which marriages are valid. ".

    Windsor absolutely did not say that. It merely started from the point at which a legal marriage had been granted, and then analyzed the effects of DOMA on it. The question of a state's original decision was left unmentioned, and wisely so (other than the parenthetical comment about "respecting Constitutional rights" that sent Scalia into a tailspin). That will be next year's question.

  • 202. JayJonson  |  May 21, 2014 at 5:58 am

    I think the licenses issued in Multnamoh County Oregon were similarly voided on the same grounds as those in San Francisco. But a county clerk in New Mexico also issued licenses in 2004 (iirc), and those marriages were recognized. (New Mexico had no ban on same-sex marriages.) In any case, I don't think a marriage performed with legally issued license would be voided. Even the California Supreme Court did not do that when they upheld Proposition 8, which specifically forbad the recognition of same-sex marriages in Calfiornia.

  • 203. JayJonson  |  May 21, 2014 at 6:01 am

    That article quotes a friend of mine from graduate school. He and his partner rushed down to City Hall to apply for a marriage license! Thanks for the link.

  • 204. Ragavendran  |  May 21, 2014 at 6:02 am

    Right, "thanks". But "you" left out "your" own name at the top of the list! And I wouldn't want to be in "your" company. Ever.

  • 205. grod  |  May 21, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Add Berks Co to yesterday's two issuing licenses. By population, it ranks 9/67

  • 206. JayJonson  |  May 21, 2014 at 6:07 am

    Yes. I agree that while it reaches the right conclusion, the article is misleading. Windsor is NOT just a state's right opinion, it is also an Equal Protection opinion. If the federal government must extend equal protection to gay and lesbian couples who want to marry, so must the states. Indeed, all the reasons that Justice Kennedy so eloquently gives for the unconstitutionality of DOMA also apply to the state bans on same-sex marriage.

  • 207. JayJonson  |  May 21, 2014 at 6:10 am

    What the recent opinions should remind us of is the crucial importance of Justice Kennedy's rhetoric of individual dignity. At the heart of his Lawrence and Windsor decisions is the idea that gay people are entitled to respect in their private lives and relationships. This respect is merited because of their dignity as free people. It is wonderful that these district judges have so quickly grasped the significance of this rhetoric. Had Bowers been allowed to stand, these opinions would have been unthinkable.

  • 208. DrPatrick1  |  May 21, 2014 at 6:12 am

    You have a point. And ultimately you may be right. However, while the prohibition on marriage equality was in place, marriage licenses were legally issued, and it is quite possible that those marriages will be upheld, no matter the outcome of this case. The recent order in UT requiring those marriages be considered valid even after the initial court decision gives some hope to those couples.

  • 209. StraightDave  |  May 21, 2014 at 6:21 am

    Here's my dime-store summary:
    Bowers: Gay people don't really exist. They're just evil people doing bad things.
    Romer: Gay people exist
    Lawrence: Gay people are allowed to be gay
    Windsor: Gay people are allowed to retain the rights states deign to grant them
    Herbert v Kitchen(2015): Gay people are full citizens and allowed all the same rights everyone else has

  • 210. DrPatrick1  |  May 21, 2014 at 6:27 am

    True. There is no direct precedent though. It remains anyone's guess to say what will happen. We can each have an opinion on this, and some of us will be correct. But for either side to definitively say what will happen, is simply naive.

    I will lay out my prediction now! The 10th and 4th, will issue opinions around the same time which uphold the lower court rulings. They will not stay their opinions forcing SCOTUS to decide. SCOTUS will NOT grant a stay, and will not quickly decide on CERT. Meanwhile the 9th will overturn the NV case, and as there will be no appellees, no stay or cert will be granted. Then one other circuit will uphold the district court ruling, and SCOTUS will grant cert, but deny a stay. No further progress will be made until April 2015 when we finally have oral arguments where the state of OK is humiliated at the court. The last Monday of June, Scalia reads his vicious dissent from the bench in what will be remembered as THE civil rights victory of the 21st century. The remaining states will be dragged towards equality, and the issue of invalidating marriages will be moot!

    Let me know what you think…

  • 211. Rick  |  May 21, 2014 at 6:48 am

    Lancaster County now issuing marriage licenses!
    http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/lancaster-c

    The article includes a photo of the first same-sex couple applying for their license.

  • 212. Ryan K.  |  May 21, 2014 at 7:00 am

    More the technical question on orders/opinions: Are judges required to issue an opinion and then follow it up with an order like we've seen in these district court rulings? Is it just at the district court, as when I recall reading appellate and SCOTUS rulings, I don't remember a separate order from the opinion, just seems like the order is at the end of the opinion in one document. Apologize in advance for my ignorance on the procedure of law.

  • 213. Michael Grabow  |  May 21, 2014 at 7:22 am

    In a matter of nine hours, nine of TKNSC's comments recieved a combined ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY SEVEN down votes. 147!

    I know it may be difficult to ignore the desire to react and respond or downvote, but I am certain that if they are COMPLETELY ignored, they will go away in a matter of time.

  • 214. Ragavendran  |  May 21, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Not necessarily. It's the judges' preferences. Some, like the most recent one by Judge Kimball in Evans issue a combined "Memorandum Opinion and Order" and some choose to separate the two.

  • 215. Lynn E  |  May 21, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Ignoring the posts may eventually result in fewer posts, but it has rapidly made the comments section unusable. Once the comments reach the "collapse" point (about 100 posts), the ability to jump to the most recent comments is impeded. When comments exceed 200, the function stops completely. When a single user is responsible for half of the comments on a news item, the site becomes impossible to use. When that user posts his intent to push useless comments to that limit, it is past time for moderator action. As much as I have gained from the commentators on this site, I am afraid my access will be limited to "checking the headlines" only. My thanks to the real commentators, who have made this site so enjoyable and informative.

  • 216. Lee  |  May 21, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Trolls are addicted to what they do, counting their down votes/comments, speaking about a specific troll by moniker/name, responding to their posts, etc is an enabler. I realize you were not purposely enabling so please take my comment the wrong way

    Several people here have suggested/offered to help moderate (delete) posts. Experienced moderators and participants in online forums know that the most effective way to discourage a troll is usually to ignore it, because responding tends to encourage trolls to continue disruptive and attention seeking posts. Deleting dissenting views tagged as troll posts is censorship and a form of oppression. A lot of right wing sites do that. to dissenting views. We are better than that.

  • 217. Richard  |  May 21, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Mercy Mercy Mercy"……………

  • 218. José  |  May 21, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Hahaha. He should be weeping for his treason.

  • 219. Big Rick  |  May 21, 2014 at 9:25 am

    That sounds highly plausible to me! And there is probably no faster path to full equality than that, so I hope it works out that way.

  • 220. StraightDave  |  May 21, 2014 at 9:36 am

    I buy most of that except for UT instead of OK being "The" case.
    I also don't trust SCOTUS to deny stays. That would tip their hand, and regardless of their legal opinions, they love to maintain the mystery.

  • 221. grod  |  May 21, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Allegheny County Marriage License Bureau received 160 online applications. Four couples were in line as door opened at 8:30 am Wednesday morning waiting to be the first same-sex couples to legally apply for a marriage license.
    Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6147239-74/cou

  • 222. SeattleRobin  |  May 21, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Thanks for the link to the article. I don't think I completely agree with him in the first half, but he made some really interesting observations in the second half. I think he nailed it when he said there are no gay people in Scalia's world, only gay acts.

  • 223. Ragavendran  |  May 21, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Congrats on making it to the positive side of the reputation score :)

  • 224. SeattleRobin  |  May 21, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Hehe, thanks! I had no idea what that was about, I'm not used to systems keeping score. Finally out of curiosity I went to my profile to try and figure out why I had a red danger sign. Didn't find any explanation given, but then I think I traced the problem to a comment I made on a conservative blog about the investigation of the Regnerus study where 55 people downvoted my comment. Though why that 55 translated to a 70+ negative I have no idea. It's a weird system.

  • 225. StraightDave  |  May 21, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Rick Perry and Marriage Equality on the same menu, with Tom Corbett as the host. How lovely!

    Apparently Perry is campaigning with Corbett in PA today as the latter tries to figure out his response to yesterday's marriage ruling. I guess we're not likely to hear any announcement today, if ever. He's just screwed.

    from Box Turtle Bulletin via Daily Kos… http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/05/21/1300955/
    (after the NOM nonsense, down at the bottom of the page)

  • 226. David ROH  |  May 21, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    People like you will make billy goats an endangered species. How sad that you have no respect for the constitutional rights of your neighbors. The Ethic of Reciprocity, better known as The Golden Rule, is included in the teachings of every major world religion and many secular philosophies. For self-identified Christians, The Golden Rule is called the Second Greatest Commandment. This childish comment and your other posts demonstrate that you are incapable of abiding the Ethic of Reciprocity and have nothing credible to contribute to this discussion. You should be ashamed for wasting electrons with your infantile nonsense.

  • 227. David ROH  |  May 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Ignoring the trolls does not work here in Utah. . . they just get elected to public office.

  • 228. FYoung  |  May 21, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    "Corbett won't appeal same-sex marriage case, Pennsylvania won't appeal same-sex marriage case"
    http://www.theintell.com/news/state/pa/corbett-wo

    Fantastic!

  • 229. Equality On TrialPennsylv&hellip  |  May 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    […] Judge John E. Jones, a nominee of President George W. Bush, struck down the ban yesterday. […]

  • 230. ebohlman  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:22 am

    Two persons who are closely related enough to be barred from marrying each other are, by definition, not legal strangers to each other, and therefore, unlike marriage-eligible couples, don't need to marry in order to stop being legal strangers.

  • 231. DaveM  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:56 am

    >(I've yet to see a truly conservative judge grudgingly admit that SCOTUS meant to legalize gay "marriage" nationwide.)

    FWEEET! No True Scotsman fallacy. 15 yard penalty and loss of down.

  • 232. DrPatrick1  |  May 22, 2014 at 6:52 am

    The stay issued in Kitchen is only until the circuit court ruling. I hope the circuit courts do not stay their own opinions, leaving for SCOTUS to decide that issue. I do not think SCOTUS will grant a stay, because t do not think there are 5 votes for the stay. Admittedly I was surprised they stepped in with a stay in Kitchen, but as others have noted, the issue had so rarely been brought to federal courts, a conservative thing to do was to slow the game a little. Now that district courts across the country, with more to follow, have unanimously ruled for equality, it would be unreasonable to delay the inevitable any longer. This is also why I don't think they will grant cert right away. They will grant cert in one of the 10th circuit cases, but not until another circuit has ruled, and they won't rule while a SCOTUS stay is in place. A stay would almost certainly mean they were granting cert to one of the cases, but as soon as they issued a stay, that would be the only case that would be ready for SCOTUS.

    We shall see what will happen

  • 233. Ragavendran  |  May 22, 2014 at 6:52 am

    Maybe "you" should consider hanging on to some of those tissues.

  • 234. DrPatrick1  |  May 22, 2014 at 7:16 am

    You often write that Windsor was a states are solely responsible for marriage decision. But you must agree with StraightDave above that over the question of DOMA, it was the federal government invalidating, for federal purposes, the effect of state law but only for a targeted minority, thus the legal question is whether the federal government can do that. The answer is no, and I think the minority on the court betrayed their bias in deciding otherwise.

    There was no way in Windsor to rule that marriage equality was required by the states because that issue was not before them. Most of us want heightened scrutiny applied because it would more quickly end the legal debates about our rights. While this may be true, I think the more valuable win is finding heightened scrutiny unnecessary because the laws do not withstand rational basis review. What better way to prove we are a targeted minority than to show how all these laws which clearly targeted us for disparate treatment, were so plainly meant to disadvantage us that they could not even withstand rational basis review.

    As I understand the legal analysis of heightened scrutiny, you must first analyze based on rational basis. If no rational basis, then game over invalid and no further analysis is needed. If there is a rational basis, then you consider whether there is a targeted minority involved using the four guiding questions as a guide to decide. Therefore, the fact that thus far most of these laws have been found invalid based on rational basis says nothing about whether heightened scrutiny applies.

  • 235. davep  |  May 22, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Our Constitutional Tradition requires Equal Protection. You can't make laws that subject certain groups to unequal denial of rights and protections when doing so fails to advance a states interest or serve a legitimate purpose that would justify this denial of equal treatment.

    And our Constitutional Tradition also requires that all laws made by the states comply with the federal Constitution. That's why state laws which deny civil marriage to same sex couples are being overturned. It's not rocket science.

  • 236. Bruno71  |  May 22, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Isn't it incestuous "marriage"? You must be ok with those types of "marriages." Maybe you're in one.

  • 237. bayareajohn  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Although it's rare, TK, when you aren't focused on being a disruptive ass for its own sake, your posts can actually be construed as contributing to a reasoned dialog, actually interesting and promoting worthwhile discussion and thought. We don't have to agree for your points to be worthy of consideration. And that can happen when you don't concentrate on being insulting,

    If, however, its not your intent to actually engage, take note that posts like the one above could make some readers think you are not 100% idiot troll. Better work on that. Either way.

  • 238. rtisinai  |  May 23, 2014 at 7:22 am

    We were there! Missing this year though — I 've done the last five and need a break.

  • 239. Equality On TrialJustice &hellip  |  July 9, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    […] federal judge struck down the state’s same-sex marriage ban back in May, and state officials quickly announced they […]

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