Pennsylvania Sued Again over Gay Marriage Ban

It brings the number of lawsuits against the state over this issue to four.
September 27, 2013

When a Montgomery County court clerk in July started to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in spite of a law banning such unions, Sasha Ballen and her longtime girlfriend Diana Spagnuolo were first in line to get one of the licenses.

Ballen and Spagnuolo were married the following weekend on July 28th in their suburban Philadelphia home.

 Now the two are among the 21 Pennsylvania couples who have leveled yet another challenge to the state’s Defense of Marriage Act. Ballen and Spagnuolo and the other plaintiffs on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court seeking to overturn the state’s marriage law, which bans same-sex marriage and gives no recognition to such marriages performed in other states.

"Our goal is that there is marriage equality in Pennsylvania,"€ Ballen said Thursday during a phone interview with PennLive. â€"We want our license to be recognized as valid which I believe is reasonable based on Judge Pelligrini’s decision."

Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini earlier this month ordered Bruce Hanes, the Montgomery County Register of Wills, to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Since July, Hanes had issued some 175 marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Also on Thursday, Massachusetts couple now residing in Pennsylvania asked a court to force their new home state to recognize their same-sex marriage.

The lawsuit filed by Cara Palladino and Isabelle Barker, who moved to the Philadelphia area in 2005, names Gov. Tom Corbett and Attorney General Kathleen Kane as defendants. Their federal lawsuit also seeks to declare unconstitutional the Pennsylvania statute barring recognition of same-sex marriages.