Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

PA Same-Sex Marriage Update

By Lisa Vari on G+

Our PA family law blog has been closely following updates regarding the trend towards same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania. Therefore, with many new events occurring recently, it is time for another post bringing everyone up to date on the most current occurrences around the state.

Montgomery County Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

After the Clerk of Courts of Montgomery County began to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Governor Corbett, through the state Board of Health, sued for an injunction to get him to stop issuing the licenses. A date has finally been set for the hearing, which will be before the Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg. The hearing will occur on September 4, 2013. A decision could take weeks or months to come out, however because of the pressing nature of this question, a decision could come sooner rather than later. Additionally, the first couples who received the marriage licenses are petitioning to enter the case as intervenors, meaning that they have a substantial interest in the outcome and can present a necessary perspective in the hearing.

As a reminder, the Clerk of Courts began issuing the marriage licenses as a way to "be on the right side of history." The law in Pennsylvania currently defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and the state sued to force the Clerk of Courts to follow this definition.

Same Sex Marriage Loss of Consortium Claim

Our PA family law blog first reported that the Wolfs, a same-sex couple who sued Temple University Health System, had their loss of consortium tort claim dismissed by a Judge in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas because they were not married according to PA law, and were therefore unable to bring a claim for which marriage is an element.

In response to the Supreme Court decision striking down the federal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, as well as the refusal of the PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane to defend the PA defense of marriage law based on her belief that it is unconstitutional, the Wolfs have petitioned for permission to appeal the ruling. The couple wants the PA courts to resolve the difference in opinion between current state law defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and U.S. v. Windsor and the opinion of the Attorney General.

Homosexual Teacher Sues Allegheny Intermediate Unit

In the newest development in PA same sex marriage news, Bradley Ankney, a math teacher at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit in Allegheny County, has sued his employer for discriminating against him because he is gay. Mr. Ankney, who has lived with his partner for 15 years in the same home, sued in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, alleging that he is denied benefits received by his married colleagues, such as health insurance for his partner and sick leave to care for his partner in the case of illness.

Ankney is seeking an injunction requiring his employer to provide the same benefits to same sex couples as are provided to heterosexual couples who may legally marry. He asserts violations of the Allegheny County Human Relations Act of 2009 as well as his protection under the Equal Rights Amendment of the PA Constitution.

Our Allegheny County LGBT Rights attorneys are keeping up to date on all developments regarding PA Same Sex marriage. Contact our team to discuss your case today!

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