Get Gay-Married in Pennsylvania, If You Must

Now you know who wears the dress. Stop asking.Credit: masterdesigner / photo on flickrToday a federal judge struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage recognition (passed via a statute, not a constitutional amendment). Presuming the ban stands, Pennsylvania will become the 19th state to legalize same-sex marriage recognition. Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed posted the text of the ruling and noted that the judge did not provide a stay. So just like Oregon yesterday, the judge's decision goes into effect immediately. The state does, however, have a three-day waiting period for marriage licenses. Gov. Tom Corbett is going to defend the state's ban, but he will do this without the assistance of the state's attorney general, who believes it to be unconstitutional.

In his ruling, Judge John E. Jones III separated his analysis of the ways same-sex couples are treated differently from their heterosexual counterparts into subheads matching lines from traditional wedding vows—the "in sickness and in health" section, for example, talks about how same-sex partners get denied information or participation in dealing with loved ones' medical emergencies. Jones must have really wanted his ruling to stand out from all the other decisions striking down marriage bans across the country. He concludes, "We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history."

Jones was a George W. Bush appointee. At Slate, David Weigel observes that a noted hater of gay marriage, Rick Santorum, encouraged the Senate to confirm Jones for U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. That's got to sting.

In other news from the rainbow side of things, scroll down a few inches for a ReasonTV video today by Amanda Winkler about the debate over gay issues within the Methodist church and how organizations with private and voluntary memberships deal with pressure for change.

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  • ||

    Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed posted the text of the ruling and noted that the judge did not provide a stay.

    When BuzzFeed scoops you on gay marriage news you know you have failed.

    How fucking hard is it to Cut and paste this shit from Reddit anyway?

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Is it really news any more?

    Better to just put a friggin' countdown counter on the front page.

  • ||

    I don't know.

    I don't care about gay marriage much cuz it has nothing to do with me.

    I do care about drug legalization though...even though it also has nothing to do with me.

    Anyway i am a libertarian so i support both and if i make a judgement call of no more gay marriage news then i would have to make the same judgement for legal pot news...but i like legal pot news so i won't.

  • Paul.||

    *facepalm*

  • Winston||

    You mean former Reason editor Dave Weigel?

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

    Now that sounds like judicial activism.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    By Jove, sir, you're right!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    So things that the commonwealth's bloated legislature passes is getting nullified? Another reason to pare down the number of fuckwits in Harrisburg.

  • ||

    ALT-TEXWND

  • Auric Demonocles||

    +1

  • Duke||

    a federal judge struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage recognition (passed via a statute, not a constitutional amendment).

    Wait. I thought a law passed through the legislature (Democracy!) was good, and that a single appointed judge striking down the will of the people was bad.

    Also, sexual preference is not a protected class subject to strict scrutiny. If my litigation experience serves me, I'm not sure how a lone federal judge will be able to upend a state marriage law once this is inevitably appealed.

  • Tonio||

    Happens all the time, Duke. Judges regularly overturn laws. Checks and balances, etc.

  • Duke||

    Uh, no shit. Doesn't mean it will stand, which was my point. Also the point is that it is ideal for the people to choose gay marriage than for it to be foisted upon them by one activist.

  • Tonio||

    Also the point is that it is ideal for the people to choose gay marriage RKBA than for it to be foisted upon them by one activist.

    See where that thinking leads?

  • Tonio||

    Oh, and in anticipation of an obvious response, those people don't believe in a constitutional right to RKBA, any more than you believe in a gay persons right to equal protection.

  • Duke||

    Clearly, you don't understand the equal protection clause and related jurisprudence, or the constitutional-republic form of government.

  • R C Dean||

    As someone who understands the Equal Protection Clause quite well, thank you, I think the argument that it requires states to license gay marriage is based on a fundamental, unstated re-definition of marriage that is beyond the scope of the judiciary.

    I'm not saying marriage shouldn't be re-defined to remove the "one man, one woman" part. I'm just saying that's not within the authority of a judge.

    And I say that as a supporter of Loving v. Virginia, striking down the law prohibiting inter-racial marriages.

    One man, one woman has been the fundamental definition of marriage for ages. A state tacking on language about race was the state re-defining marriage in a way that violated Equal Protection.

  • ||

    those people don't believe in a constitutional right to RKBA, any more than you believe in a gay persons right to equal protection.

    And of course those are equally valid positions, the RTKBA being so dastardly vague and deriving as it does from the penumbra, articulated in its full clarity only in the opinions of federal court justices.

  • TimothyZ||

    "...the point is that it is ideal for the people to choose gay marriage than for it to be foisted upon them"

    I agree. I have no interest in being forced to gay-marry.

  • Homple||

    Yeah, like the checkers and balancers who keep the Fourth Amendment at the forefront of their judiciary musings.

  • Tonio||

    Pennsylvania will become the 19th state to legalize same-sex marriage recognition.

    No, Scott, Pennsylvania didn't legalize it, a federal judge struck down the statute, which is different than than legalizing something through either the legislature or a popular referendum.

  • R C Dean||

    Thanks, Tonio. I was going to make that very point.

    More accurate to say:

    Pennsylvania will become the __th state to be forced to license same-sex marriage by a federal judge.

  • John||

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

    At least he was honest. I have more respect for this judge who is at least honest enough to admit he doesn't give a shit about the law and is just striking down the law because he doesn't like it than I do for Reason who thinks the same way but pretends not to.

    There is no rational reason to say homosexuals have a constitutional right to marriage and polygamists don't. The difference is judges and the political elite like homosexuals and don't like polygamists. That is it. And if the day comes they don't like homosexuals, homosexuals are going back in the closet or if they decide they like polygamists they are coming out of the closet.

    How anyone can think deciding who is entitled to what rights based on how culturally popular their views are is a good idea is beyond me.

  • ||

    There is no rational reason to say homosexuals have a constitutional right to marriage and polygamists don't.

    I guess that's why I also support the rights of polygamists. It's a weird thing for you to bring up now though since we aren't talking about a judge who was giving a ruling that conflicts with this POV.

  • John||

    I don't support "rights" for either. I think the states have a right to define marriage however they want to. I don't view sexual preference or desire for multiple partners as a class of people that should be considered protected such that discriminating against them in marriage is subjected to anything other than rational basis scrutiny under the equal protection clause.

    My point is that if you do, then you should believe it for both groups, which you apparently do. What makes these decisions so dangerous is that the judges don't. They are just pulling doctrine out of their ass because they like gays.

  • Duke||

    I think the states have a right to define marriage however they want to.

    That's how the country was set up. Marriage was never intended in our legal construct to be a federal issue. I don't want a federal marriage amendment. Nor do I want federal judges striking down state marriage laws. Both are reconcilable with each other.

  • Warren's Strapon||

    I think the states have a right

    There's the problem right there.

  • ||

    It's possible that they are doing that, but I would be wary of issuing judgements about people when you have no way of knowing that. How many federal judges that struck down anti-ssm statutes also had anti-polygamy statutes come before them?

    I can't imagine it would be many, if any, since such laws are rarely enforced, and there isn't a groundswell that is challenging their legitimacy.

  • R C Dean||

    there isn't a groundswell that is challenging their legitimacy

    So Constitutional rights should be doled out based on popularity?

    That kind of defeats the purpose of Constitutional rights.

    I do hope we get a follow-up on the judge's reasoning. I still think Equal Protection analysis has to start with a sub rosa and unacknowledged judicial redefinition of marriage.

  • ||

    No. But in order for a judge to strike down a law it requires it t he challenged. The lack of support has led to the lack of a challenge.

    Apparently the judge is also supposed to rule on the unrelated matter of other banned marriages when he rules on SSM?

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    What class DO you need to belong to in order to deserve equal protection under the law?

  • Duke||

    The judge is simply showing us the way to Affirmative Gay Action.

  • Winston||

    Hey that's always been my problem with this. The judges like gays so they legalize gay marriage. If they didn't like gays then the bans would stay.

    If enough judges think that the Second Amendment doesn't refer to private ownership like many progs think then they'll ban guns.

    Or if enough judges think that corporations and bigots are too serious a threat to democracy then they'll clamp down on civil liberties.

  • Duke||

    If enough judges think that the Second Amendment doesn't refer to private ownership like many progs think then they'll ban guns. Or if enough judges think that corporations and bigots are too serious a threat to democracy then they'll clamp down on civil liberties.

    Now you're getting it.

  • ||

    We are a better people than what these laws represent

    Better then Obama who opposed gay marriage?

    Better then Hilary who supported the Marriage act and Bill who signed it?

  • Jgalt1975||

    There's a pretty obvious "rational reason" to say that polygamy can be treated differently from same sex marriage: recognizing same sex marriage merely requires using gender neutral language in existing laws -- after that it all works the same; recognizing polygamy would require an overhaul of a huge range of different statutes and reconsideration of numerous court cases to determine how to prioritize and/or reconcile multiple spouses having claims to something. For example, your spouse currently automatically becomes the beneficiary of your 401(k) upon marriage unless he/she consents to naming a different beneficiary. Recognizing same sex marriage doesn't require changing that statute at all. Recognizing polygamy means that statute needs to be rewritten -- either to eliminate automatic designation of a spouse as a beneficiary or to create some sort of prioritization/allocation process for multiple spouses. There are literally thousands of similar examples (inheritance, taxes, etc.). That's not to say that polygamy shouldn't necessarily be legal, but it's absurd to claim that the logistics of legalizing aren't dramatically different than legalizing same sex marriage.

  • nayls142||

    "...IF YOU MUST" Seriously, Shackford, now I'm not linking your article on Facebook. And I'm a gay Pennsylvanian, and today's my birthday, so I'm getting lots of hits. But if you want to Pennsylvania bash like the lot of em, just go crawl in a hole in the desert.

  • ||

    The "if you must" reads more like a reference to some people's belief that one doesn't need the govt. involved in their relationship. I am not sure why that is PA bashing.

  • nayls142||

    Reminded me of the New Yorkers I went to college with, who couldn't fathom why anyone would ever want to live outside their empire state. "If you must live in Pennsylvania, at least now you can get married."

  • Scott S.||

    It's a reflection of me running out of ways to reference these decisions. I don't think I've ever even been to Pennsylvania and bear no animus.

  • Winston||

    Ah thanks Tonio for showing that I missed the lovely phrase "legalize same-sex marriage recognition." How to make it more clunkier?

  • Tonio||

    Actually that was directed at Shackford. I didn't create the clunkage, I just live in the clunky world.

  • Winston||

    Eh, I was pointing out that you pointed out that Shackford had said it which I had missed.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Taking issue with how we got here is perfectly valid. Being upset with the result (an increase in liberty for individuals) is stupid.

  • ||

    I personally take issue with the idea that somehow the goal should be to get more people involved in the state recognized version of marriage certification.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    Marriage is a contract. State recognition of marriage certification is an agreement to enforce that contract. The ability to enforce legally binding contracts is a core reason we put up with the institution of government.

  • ||

    Speak for yourself. I put up with government because of the implied violence that backs it.

  • Calvin Coolidge||

    The implied violence is how contracts are enforced. Without it, it is just a piece of paper.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I would say that an increase in state recognized marriage is a decrease in liberty.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    For who? Us single people?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Us most of all, yes. But married people don't have more liberty just because they are getting more goodies.

  • Calidissident||

    Do you feel the same way with regards to interracial marriage?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    All marriage, like I just said.

  • TimothyZ||

    Ah, the old "You're not a racist... are you?"

  • Winston||

    What if you are revolutionary libertarian who thinks any reform while the current order exists is bad?

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Getting government out of marriage entirely is a good goal. But being pissed that gay couples can now get access to state-granted benefits is as shortsighted as being pissed that marijuana is legalized for medicinal use rather than 100% across the board for everyone.

    It's a necessary step that must be taken first.

  • Tonio||

    And it must be pointed out that there is no credible, organized group trying to eliminate all state marriage. (Cue robc "army of one" in 5...4...)

  • Winston||

    So libertarians don't want to eliminate state marriage or they are non-credible and disorganized?

  • SusanM||

    or they are non-credible and disorganized?

    Not to knock libertarians, but herding cats would be easier that getting libertarians to agree.

  • Duke||

    i disagree with that statement.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    It's a step further away, not a step closer. It's getting government more involved in marriage, not less.

  • R C Dean||

    as shortsighted as being pissed that marijuana is legalized for medicinal use rather than 100% across the board for everyone.

    Its shortsighted until you realize that medpot creates a pressure group for opposing full legalization.

  • ||

    Being upset with the result (an increase in liberty for individuals) is stupid.

    Hooray for the liberty to seek rent. Should we raise a glass every time some some new industry obtains the "equal protection" of favorable tax treatment as well, since it will presumably increase the individual liberty of the beneficiaries? I mean, I've seen that argument made here, but it tends not to be received as warmly.

  • ||

    Speaking of Pennsylvania and love, Philadelphia is for lovers.

  • Winston||

    I am disappoint at the lack of Santa being booed.

  • ||

    So for years places like National Review have spouted off that the problem is that the gays are going to ruin marriage for the straights once the government starts recognizing it.

    I propose to you that in fact the result will be the opposite. Marriage, and all it's conservative aspects will take a counter-culture that developed outside the reaches of the state and ruin it. This is the first step towards Purtinizing the gay culture of America.

  • Duke||

    I told one of my gay friends to be careful what you wish for. Community property and spousal support can destroy a guy financially even in situations where the one who's paying wasn't at fault.

  • John||

    ^^THIS^^

    The biggest and one of the original proponents of gay marriage is Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan is a Catholic SOCON of the worst ilk who supports gay marriage because he thinks it would get gay men to settle down and live more moral lives.

  • Tony||

    And you have a problem with this because...?

  • ||

    Stopping gays from being fabulous?

    Hard to tell. I am not steeped in gay culture...

    But I do think something would be lost.

    The character Jack in that one show made me laugh more then once...probably other things will be lost as well though i will not know it as they will never exist.

    Lost like tears in rain.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Heh, heh, tell Sullivan he's a SoCon and see how he reacts...

  • Alice Bowie||

    Any park cruising poof will tell you otherwise

  • SusanM||

    Why is it so hard to believe that gay men don't want to settle down? I can't speak for Mr Game but I do know plenty of gays who are in stable monogamous relationships.

  • SusanM||

    Dammit

    Why is it so hard to believe that gay men ____ want to settle down?

  • R C Dean||

    You can be in a stable, monogamous relationship without having a state license for it, you know.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Essa Loca

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