Pennsylvania, like most states in the US has a law, which prevents individuals connected by too close a level of consanguinity from marrying. This means that in most states, people who are too closely related will not be issued a marriage license. In most states this law bars parents from marrying children, first cousins from marrying cousins and nephews from marrying aunts. Though this might seem like a relic of past concerns of long lost siblings and jokes about backwoods shotgun weddings. However, this issue is all for a couple living in Allegheny County. Nino Espisito, a retired teacher, adopted his partner, Roland Bossee more than forty years together as a couple. The gentlemen made this decision before the landmark cases of Windsor, Whitewood, and Obergefell decisions permitted same-sex couples around the country to marry freely. By adopting Bossee, Espisito was able to convey upon him some but not all of the benefits associated with being married. However, this plan hit a snag when the couple, who is now permitted to legally marry in all fifty states, asked that the Allegheny County Orphan's Court judge annul the adoption so that the couple could legally marry.
By: Lisa Marie Vari
Today, Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Corbett, said he does not plan to appeal yesterday's ruling making the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The Governor admitted that he believed an appeal would be very unlikely to succeed and thus did not want to extend resources to do so. Therefore, unless a higher court steps in to reconsider this issue, gay and lesbian couples no longer face any legal hurdles to marry in Pennsylvania.
U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled the law barring same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania as unconstitutional today, May 20, 2014. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller represented 11 gay couples, two teenage children of a couple involved in the suit, and a widow. The plaintiffs sought Pennsylvania to both recognize gay marriages formed in other states as well as permission to marry in the state of Pennsylvania.