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Lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban filed in state court

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Pennsylvania state sealA new lawsuit was filed in state court in Pennsylvania challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Twenty-one couples who obtained a marriage license from the Montgomery County Clerk filed the lawsuit, which raises federal and state law questions. A separate challenge was filed earlier by the ACLU in federal court.

The new case is seeking to preserve the legality of marriage licenses issued during a short window of time in Montgomery County; the county clerk was ordered by a judge to to stop issuing the licenses, and the legality of existing licenses has yet to be decided.

The Associated Press reports:

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 ACLU case only raises federal claims under the US Constitution.


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