At 8:30 Wednesday morning, Montgomery County in Pennsylvania began issuing marriage licenses again. They were the first county to allow same-sex couples to marry, but a court order prevented them from doing so even after Governor Tom Corbett declined to appeal a ruling overturning Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage until today. All of the marriage licenses the county had issued before are still valid.
Who would have thought a GOP politician could COMPLETELY make my day without saying something so ludicrous that I would be curled up in the fetal position holding my sides and laughing for ten minutes? (I’m looking at you, Mike Huckabee) Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has announced that he will not be appealing a ruling in Whitewood v. Wolf striking down Pennsylvania’s gay marriage ban. Had he appealed, I would have been forced to do actual work like finding out whether these marriage licenses they’ve been handing out will be good in three days when the couples can actually get married. Also, all these couples can get married in three days instead of wondering if they should put those deposits down yet.
On May 20, 2014 a judge declared Pennsylvania’s ban on marriage equality unconstitutional and declined to stay his ruling, meaning marriage licenses could be distributed immediately. Governor Tom Corbett declined to appeal the ruling, saying that he felt the ruling was unlikely to be overturned.
The Social Security Administration announced on Friday that it will begin offering partner benefits to same-sex couples, but BuzzFeed reports the benefits will not be applied as consistently as some other federal benefits available to same-sex couples since the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. For now only married same-sex couples who live in a state that recognizes their marriages will be eligible to receive the Social Security spousal benefit.
Eliminating that unfair system will require a multipronged effort — to add more states to the list of 13 that permit same-sex marriage and to challenge remaining state laws that violate the standards of equal protection as the Defense of Marriage Act did. Last Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a challenge to a Pennsylvania law that allows marriage only between a man and a woman and rejects other states’ marriage equality laws.
Brought on behalf of 23 plaintiffs, the lawsuit is among the first of an expected wave of new cases around the country that could eventually return the issue to the Supreme Court. These suits aim to build on Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act, including his insight that the federal government’s refusal to recognize some marriages denied married same-sex couples a “status of immense import” and deprived children of “the integrity and closeness of their own family.”