State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Corbett skips appeal of same-sex marriage ruling

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | May 21, 2014 3:59 PM
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Governor Tom Corbett said Wednesday he will not appeal a federal judge's ruling recognizing same-sex marriage, making Pennsylvania the 19-th state to recognize such marriages.

"Given the high legal threshold set forth by Judge Jones in this case, the case is extremely unlikely to succeed on appeal," Corbett said in a written statement. "As a Roman Catholic, the traditional teaching of my faith has not wavered. I continue to maintain the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. My duties as Governor require that I follow the laws as interpreted by the Courts and make a judgment as to the likelihood of a successful appeal."

The statement comes one day after the state's 1996 gay marriage ban was struck down by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and once supported by former Republican senator Rick Santorum.

Hundreds of same-sex couples immediately responded to the ruling by filing applications for marriage licenses. One couple in Harrisburg asked to waive the state's minimum three-day waiting period to get married, concerned the judge's ruling would be suspended upon appeal before they could tie the knot.

John Culhane, law professor at Widener Law School, said there's an outside chance the Supreme Court of the United States could rule that states can ban same-sex marriages.

"But I don't think that will happen," Culhane said. "And if it did, it would create a huge mess that would place in question marriages that would have been going on, by that point, for two years or so."

The challenge to overturn the state's marriage laws was filed by 11 couples, one widow, and one of the couple's two teenage daughters.

The governor's office was left to defend the law after the state's Democratic attorney general called it unconstitutional and refused to defend it.

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