News & Politics

Marriage Equality: Coming Soon to a State near You

large_10278684105This week, in my home state of Pennsylvania, the federal court struck down our same-sex marriage ban. To be honest, I thought we were still years away from this decision and I’ve never been so glad to be wrong.

If you are keeping count, that makes Pennsylvania the 10th state to strike down a ban on same-sex marriage and since Governor Corbett has announced he won’t appeal this ruling, we will become the 19th state in the nation to enjoy marriage equality. Nineteen. I recall when I was working in the LGBT movement a decade ago and Freedom To Marry rolled out it’s 20/20 Vision plan. Basically, the goal was to have twenty states with marriage equality by the year 2020. That goal seemed so ambitious to me then. Yet here we are on the brink of accomplishing it years early.

These days it’s hard to keep track of all the victories for the freedom to marry. What a lovely problem to have. Here is a quick update on the most recent victories:

Pennsylvania: The Governor has thirty days to file an appeal, but he has announced he won’t. Couples can apply for a marriage license, but there is a three day waiting period before receiving the license. Notable: Attorney General Kathleen Kane believed the ban to be unconstitutional, and therefore would not have represented Governor Corbett had he chosen to appeal.

Oregon: Just one day before the Pennsylvania decision came down, Oregon struck down it’s same-sex marriage ban in the federal court. Anti-LGBT groups have collected signatures to put a same-sex marriage initiative on the ballot, but it is unclear if they will move forward in light of this week’s decision.

Arkansas: Earlier this month, a state circuit judge in Arkansas struck down that state’s ban on same-sex marriages. Initially, there was some confusion over whether county clerks should be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples but that “clerical error” has since been cleared up.

Idaho: Also earlier this month, Idaho’s same-sex marriage ban was overturned, but marriages are on hold until an appeal is decided.

The month of May has been very productive as far as filling in the marriage equality map of our nation. The list above includes states that complete the west coast (Oregon), complete the northeast corridor (Pennsylvania), represent a midwest state (Idaho), and represent a southern state (Arkansas) in a complete picture of marriage equality. It’s almost surreal.

It’s inspiring to be living this piece of history. It’s good for our community, it’s good for our country, and most importantly, it’s good for our families. Here’s to more states – and more families – having the option of marriage. To end with the words of U.S. District Judge John E. Jones, the Pennsylvania judge whose ruling championed marriage equality:

 “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history.

FEATURE PHOTO CREDIT: PURPLE SHERBET PHOTOGRAPHY via PHOTOPIN cc

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