June 9, 2014
Schuylkill County’s Clerk of the Orphan’s Court, Theresa Santai-Gaffney, has asked the federal district court judge who struck down Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban to allow her to intervene in the case. Her filings say she intends to seek a stay of same-sex marriages in the state, and then an appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Santai-Gaffney, whose office issues marriage licenses in the county, asked U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III on Friday to allow her to intervene in the case, with a view toward appealing his May 20 order declaring Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.
Jones, whose chambers are in Harrisburg but who lives in Pottsville, is one of several federal judges who have declared state laws banning gay marriage unconstitutional.
Any appeal of Jones’ decision would be heard by the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Santai-Gaffney said the issue should not stop with Jones’ ruling, although Gov. Tom Corbett, who had defended the law in court, has said he will not appeal that decision.
“An appeal is necessary so that the judicial process is not abandoned,” she said. “The people of Pennsylvania deserve to hear from the court of appeals on this important issue because a single judge should not be able to nullify the will of the majority without an appeal.”
Equality Pennsylvania issued a statement:
“It saddens me, as I am sure it saddens many Pennsylvanians, that some individuals are having such a hard time accepting that all people deserve to be treated equally regardless of our differences. We have branches of government for a reason, and the judicial branch has a legitimate right to interpret whether laws meet the constitutional standards that our nation’s founders created.
We are glad that Judge Jones examined the case and came to a reasonable conclusion. We also thank Gov. Corbett for recognizing that the majority of Pennsylvanian’s understand that love is love.
The fact is that marriage matters to all families, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families in Pennsylvania deserve the same dignity and protection as anyone else.”
Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings